Gaelic GamesPreviews

Weekend GAA previews: Kingdom backlash on Leeside could be imminent

Mayo are expected to build on their bar-setting win over Kerry in a home fixture against Mickey Harte’s Louth


All-Ireland SFC, Round 2

Group 1

Cork v Kerry, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 3.0 (Live on GAAGO)

In these pages earlier this week, Darragh Ó Sé outlined why he believed if there was ‘any bit of fight in this Cork team, any bit of pride,’ then they must show it against Kerry. Cork folk have heard such mutterings from across the border before, of course, for it tends to come with the territory. However, in reality this is a game where Kerry need to deliver a performance just as much as Cork. Given their listlessness against Mayo, Jack O’Connor’s Kingdom must show more energy and desire. They will have spent the last fortnight picking apart what went wrong against Mayo and surely the champions will be out to deliver a statement performance here. A backlash on Leeside could be incoming.


Verdict: Kerry

Group 2

Westmeath v Galway, Cusack Park, 5.0

Westmeath will be bitterly disappointed not to have taken something from their trip to Armagh last Saturday, but Dessie Dolan can be encouraged by his side’s display. Still, they are coming up against one of the form teams in the country right now. In the likes of Damien Comer, Shane Walsh, Ian Burke and Matthew Tierney, Galway should have way too much firepower for Westmeath.

Verdict: Galway

Tyrone v Armagh, Healy Park, 7.0 (Live on RTÉ) – This has the potential to be the most explosive game of the weekend, because there is plenty on the line – for Tyrone in particular. They were decent without being exceptional against Galway, but Tyrone know another defeat here would leave them facing the prospect of finishing third in the group, at best. Winning Sam from there would be difficult. Armagh weren’t overly impressive against Westmeath though, and with so much at stake for Tyrone the Red Hands might just edge what is likely to be a very tight affair.

Verdict: Tyrone

Group 3

Kildare v Dublin, Nowlan Park, 5.0 (Live on GAAGO)

Dublin’s 2023 championship – hammer Laois, struggle over Kildare, hammer Louth, draw with Roscommon, so Dessie Farrell will be hoping the trend brings about a big display here. The problem for Dublin is that they continue to lack a real spark, though. Kildare possibly should have beaten them last month and so away from Croke Park this represents a genuine chance for the Lilywhites. For all of that, a team on the road as long as Dublin often needs an angle or a cause to focus the minds in games like this – and the stink kicked up by Kildare after the Leinster semi-final might still be in the nostrils of the Dubs.

Verdict: Dublin

Tailteann Cup, Round 3

Group 1

Cavan (4pts) and Offaly (3pts) are already guaranteed to advance beyond the group stages, with their game in Pearse Park essentially a play-off to finish top of the table. If Offaly lose though, Laois (1pt) could overtake them on scoring difference if they put up a significant tally against London (0pts) in Parnell Park. Mickey Graham’s Cavan have looked the strongest team in this group.

Cavan v Offaly, Pearse Park, 3.0

Verdict: Cavan

Laois v London, Parnell Park, 3.0

Verdict: Laois

Group 2

Meath (4pts) and Down (4pts) is a straight shootout for top spot – as they both won their first two games. The winner will gain the benefit of advancing to the quarter-finals proper and a week break, while the loser will have to play in a preliminary quarter-final. Meath’s concession of 1-14 against Waterford should be a concern for the Royals – it is the biggest tally the Division Four side registered all season. Tipperary (0pts) and Waterford (0pts) are playing for third place, but this could yet be the group where the third-placed team loses out on making the preliminary quarter-finals.

Meath v Down, Parnell Park, 1.0 (Live on GAAGO)

Verdict: Down

Tipperary v Waterford, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 1.0

Verdict: Tipperary

Lory Meagher Cup Final – Monaghan v Lancashire, Croke Park, 1.0 (Live on Spórt TG4)

If the group game between these sides is anything to go by, we are in for a goal-fest at Croke Park. Monaghan ran out 5-19 to 3-18 winners when they met in Birmingham last month.

Verdict: Monaghan

Nicky Rackard Cup Final – Donegal v Wicklow, Croke Park, 3.0 (Live on Spórt TG4)

There was a fair degree of shadow boxing when the teams met in the last round of group games, a match Wicklow won by two points, so there is unlikely to be much between them again in this decider.

Verdict: Wicklow

Christy Ring Cup Final – Derry v Meath, Croke Park, 5.0 (Live on Spórt TG4)

Meath went to Owenbeg at the end of April and came away with a two-point win. There is little to choose between the sides, but Derry have shipped ten goals compared to Meath’s five during the competition.

Verdict: Meath


All-Ireland SFC Round 2

Group 1

Mayo v Louth, MacHale Park, 2.0 (Live on RTÉ)

Louth’s best chance to pick up points in this group was in last week’s opener against Cork. Mickey Harte’s men have had a season of progress, but they aren’t at the same level as Mayo. Kevin McStay’s side should comfortably pick up a second win in the round-robin.

Verdict: Mayo

Group 3

Roscommon v Sligo, Dr Hyde Park, 3.0 (Live on GAAGO)

Both sides will have taken encouragement from their opening games, and Sligo certainly won’t fear Roscommon. However, Davy Burke’s Roscommon side have played at a higher level all year and have the benefit of home advantage.

Verdict: Roscommon

Group 4 Monaghan v Clare, St Tiernach’s Park, 2.0

Monaghan were the better team against Derry last weekend and really should have left Celtic Park with maximum points. Karl O’Connell and Rory Beggan were superb, while the return of Ryan McAnespie bolsters the squad. Clare will certainly make it difficult for Monaghan but the Banner’s fadeout against Donegal, coupled with their poor Munster final showing against Kerry, suggests they might struggle to last 70 plus minutes with a Division One side.

Verdict: Monaghan

Donegal v Derry, MacCumhaill Park, 4.0 (Live on RTÉ)

Donegal came away from Ennis with a morale-boosting win and they will hope Ballybofey is worth a couple of points to them here. However, they are still without some key players, not least Paddy McBrearty, and there remains a sense Donegal are playing out the year rather than playing with any genuine belief they will be there come the business end of things. Still, Derry’s rather lacklustre display against Monaghan won’t have gone unnoticed. However, Derry have the ability to dominate the middle third of the pitch, though they will probably need more players to help out Shane McGuigan in the scoring department.

Verdict: Derry

Tailteann Cup Round 3

Group 3

It has been a disappointing Tailteann Cup for Wicklow (0pts), who initially would have fancied coming out of this group. But Oisín McConville’s side cannot advance now due to their head-to-head record against both Longford (2pts) and Carlow (2pts), meaning even a victory over Limerick would not see Wicklow remain in the competition. Limerick (4pts) have been the most impressive side in this group. Longford and Carlow have lacked consistency, but they both should have a few more chances to work on that.

Limerick v Wicklow, O’Moore Park, 1.0

Verdict: Limerick

Longford v Carlow, O’Moore Park, 3.0

Verdict: Draw

Group 4

Antrim (4pts) and Fermanagh (3pts) are leading the way in the group and both are almost certain to finish in the top two. Wexford (1pt) can overtake Fermanagh on scoring difference, but it would take the Model County chalking up a big win over Leitrim (0pts) and the Ernesiders losing to Antrim. Leitrim would take third place if they beat Wexford, but they would still not be certain of advancing due to only the best three third-placed sides making the knockout stages.

Wexford v Leitrim, Parnell Park, 3.0

Verdict: Leitrim

Fermanagh v Antrim, Athletic Grounds, 3.0

Verdict: Draw

All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship Final

Clare v Galway, Semple Stadium, 1.0 (Live on TG4)

Galway’s 3-18 to 1-10 dismissal of Cork at the semi-final stages felt like a statement victory by the boys from the west. Aaron Niland hit 1-11 against Cork. Galway have won all six of their championship games by double digits.

Verdict: Galway

All-Ireland Under-20 Hurling Championship Final

Cork v Offaly, Semple Stadium, 3.0 (Live on TG4)

It has been a season of great progress for Offaly hurling, but they are coming up against a formidable Cork outfit in this final. The Rebels went through a competitive Munster championship unbeaten and are favourites to claim All-Ireland glory.

Verdict: Cork

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning is a sports journalist, specialising in Gaelic games, with The Irish Times