GAA previews: DCU forwards to test Dublin full-back line

Conclusion of O’Byrne Cup group stages to add a little spice to weekend action

(All throw-ins Sunday 2.00pm unless stated)


O’Byrne Cup – Round 3

Wexford v IT Carlow, Bunclody; Dublin v DCU, Parnell Park; Offaly v Kildare, O’Connor Park; Louth v DIT, Darver; Meath v Laois, Páirc Tailteann; Carlow v UCD, Dr Cullen Park; Longford v Wicklow, Pearse Park; Westmeath v Maynooth University, Moate.


For what it's worth, the group stage here comes to a head tomorrow, which may or may not give the games an extra splash of spice. DCU only have to avoid defeat against the Dubs in Parnell Park to go through to the semi-final. Conor McGraynor of Wicklow and Austin Stacks forward David Mannix have been doing plenty of damage for the northside college so far so it will be fun to see how they get on against a Dublin full-back line finding its feet.

Elsewhere, Louth's eye-catching win over Kildare during the week has them in prime position to advance, while the winner of Meath v Laois will most likely do the same. Interestingly, Westmeath have kept Kieran Martin in the forwards in their two games so far, to good effect. A win over Maynooth will put them through with a full house – no mean feat considering John Heslin is engaged with UCD for the duration.

FBD League

NUIG v Roscommon, Ballyforan; Mayo v IT Sligo, Ballina; Sligo v GMIT, Collooney; Galway v Leitrim, Tuam.

|Game of the day is probably in Ballyforan, where Kevin McStay's Rossies should get a smart enough test from an NUIG side that ran Mayo damn close last week. Certainly if Adam Gallagher carries on his fine scoring form, Roscommon will have to have their wits about them to keep pace. As a small curio, it's worth noting that Gallagher for NUIG and Evan Regan for UUJ were the highest-scoring Mayo forwards from play in the opening round.

Dr McKenna Cup

Cavan v Ulster University, Breffni Park, tonight, 7pm; Derry v Tyrone, Owenbeg; Donegal v St Marys, Letterkenny; Down v Fermanagh, Newry; Monaghan v Armagh, Clones.

Derry and Tyrone will certainly bring forth the biggest crowd of the day, with upwards of 4,000 expected through the gate in Owenbeg for what will likely be the group decider. Should be an intriguing watch, as Damien Barton looks to put a more expansive attacking shape on Derry, usually a doomed endeavour when faced with Tyrone. Meanwhile, last year's runners-up Cavan can virtually guarantee themselves a semi-final place tonight if they manage a home win against Ulster University.

McGrath Cup

Waterford v Cork, An Rinn; Kerry v Clare, Fitzgerald Stadium, 2.30pm

Still very much cobweb-clearing time down south, with very few recognisable names on show for either Kerry or Cork this weekend. One potential straw in the wind for Cork though is the placing of James Loughrey at centre-back, which could make for possibilities down the line if it was something new manager Peadar Healy wanted to pursue.

Hurling Walsh Cup

Westmeath v NUIG, St Lomans, Mullingar, today, 2.30pm; IT Carlow v Carlow, Dr Cullen Park, 12.00; Meath v Wexford, Pairc Tailteann, 12.15; Dublin v Antrim, DCU Grounds; Laois v UCD, Heywood CS, Ballinakill; Galway v DCU, Ballinasloe.

Munster Hurling League

Kerry v Cork, Mallow; Waterford v Limerick, Carriganore.

Inasmuch as you can hope for a decent game of hurling on the second Sunday of the year, Waterford and Limerick might just fit the bill. Meanwhile, Cork have named two teams for the weekend – one to play Kerry in Mallow on Sunday and another, far stronger one, to play UCC in the Canon Michael O’Brien Cup on Saturday.

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin is a sports writer with The Irish Times