Dubs and Mayo not the only game in town

Leinster v Munster in Rabo Direct Pro 12 also has 7pm Saturday start

Andy Moran of Mayo and Cian O’Sullivan of Dublin clash during last year’s All-Ireland football final at Croke Park. The two sides will meet at the same venue for Saturday evening’s NFL clash. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Andy Moran of Mayo and Cian O’Sullivan of Dublin clash during last year’s All-Ireland football final at Croke Park. The two sides will meet at the same venue for Saturday evening’s NFL clash. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

 

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The toss of a coin has denied Croke Park a double-header of games this Saturday evening, which might have helped offset the clash with another sporting event across town.

As it stands, a rematch of the All-Ireland football final between Dublin and Mayo in Croke Park will directly clash with Leinster against Munster in the rugby Pro 12 at the Aviva Stadium: both games have a 7pm start and a live TV broadcast but Croke Park would also have been hosting the Dublin hurlers against Waterford as a curtain-raiser, only for Waterford winning the toss for home advantage.

Details of the Allianz National Hurling League quarter-finals were announced yesterday, along with the Division IA relegation play-off between Dublin against Waterford. As both those teams were at home for only two of their five league games, home advantage was decided on the toss of a coin. The game will be at Walsh Park on Sunday, with a 3.30 start.

Dublin would appear to be the form team of the two, narrowly losing out to Tipperary on Sunday, while Waterford fell heavily to Kilkenny. But Waterford are unbeaten in their last six league meetings against Dublin on home turf, including this year’s league meeting on March 9th.

The losers will be playing Division 1B hurling next season.

Home advantage
The four quarter-finals also have 3.30 starts on Sunday. Wexford were entitled to home advantage against Kilkenny as they only played two games at home (compared to Kilkenny’s three), while Laois won the toss to host Clare (in Portlaoise). Limerick won the toss to host Galway (at the Gaelic Grounds), and Tipperary won the toss to host Cork (in Thurles).

If Dublin still feel aggrieved at being dragged into the relegation play-off, Tipperary can feel gratified at making those quarter-finals.

Sunday’s three-point win, and specifically, Ronan Maher’s injury-time score, gave them the superior scoring total to Dublin that earned that tilt against Cork.

The penultimate round of the Allianz Football League is also down for decision this weekend and for Dublin, hosting Mayo in Croke Park on Saturday evening is not just a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland final – which Dublin won by a point – but potentially leading to a Division One semi-finals spot, or being dragged into a relegation battle.

Level
Both teams are level on six points (behind Cork, Derry and Tyrone), with Dublin coming off a defeat to Derry, and Mayo off a victory over Cork in the last round.

A victory would leave either team nicely positioned for a semi-final berth going into the last round, although Dublin are away to Tyrone on Sunday week, while Mayo host Derry.

Likewise, a defeat for either team would leave them nervously within reach of one of the relegation berths, partly depending on results elsewhere.
n The GAA are retaining their league pre-purchase discount for this weekend’s hurling quarter-finals, with all tickets available for €10 if purchased in advance: see www.gaa.ie/tickets

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