GAA weekend previews: Throw-in times, TV details and team news

Seán Moran looks ahead to hurling quarter-finals and provincial football deciders

 Liam Cahill’s Waterford team are out for a third successive week. File photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Liam Cahill’s Waterford team are out for a third successive week. File photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

SATURDAY

All-Ireland SHC quarter-finals: Tipperary v Waterford, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 1.30 [LIVE, RTE ONE]

Tipp are working out what happened to them after half-time in the Munster final and to an extent Waterford are doing the same in respect of their final quarter a week ago.

In the league meeting between the sides, something similar happened and Waterford’s running game melted Tipp in the second half. Liam Sheedy afterwards implied that it had been down to training blocks and certainly his team looked tired after the break. In the first half, however, the superior craft of their forwards had given them the edge and even later they kept the contest on life support.

Waterford’s early tour de force last week kept Galway at - just about - arm’s length by the end. Joe Canning said of it: “Everything Waterford hit - I think they had 89 or 90 per cent success rate in their shooting in the first half alone. That’s phenomenal.”

Can they sustain that level of marksmanship?

Tipp were in good shape for the championship and although their defence isn’t built for containing a running game, particularly once they lose a grip around the middle - as demonstrated by Limerick - their forwards are able to rack up scores.

They have also had a week’s rest whereas their opponents are out for a third successive week.

Verdict: Tipperary

Dublin v Cork, Semple Stadium, 7.0 [Live, Sky Sports Arena]

At times it’s counter-intuitive but in these fixtures it’s the defeated provincial finalists who have the upper hand (13-7 over the past 10 years) on the teams coming through with momentum from the qualifiers. This is conditioned though by Dublin’s difficulties, particularly Eoghan O’Donnell’s suspect fitness at full back, and although they have the Covid 4 back on board, this is a fair challenge.

A year ago Cork were simply better and defied Dublin’s resistance. They’re better now, as proved against Clare and have the luxury that there’s more left in the likes of Darragh Fitzgibbon and Mark Coleman and that their attack is more multi-faceted.

Dublin bring formidable physicality in the half forwards and have their form full forward Ronan Hayes back but they will be under pressure from the pace and execution of the Cork forwards.

Verdict: Cork

Ulster SFC final: Monaghan v Tyrone, Croke Park, 4.0 [Live, RTE2/BBC Two NI]

Back in Croke Park for the first time in 15 years the Ulster final reunites two counties with a more recent track record at headquarters. Just three years ago Tyrone somehow edged past their neighbours in an All-Ireland semi-final. The four Ulster counties in Division One ended up as semi-finalists in the province - hardly surprisingly as you could throw a blanket over them during the league.

Donegal’s loss of Michael Murphy tilted the balance of the Tyrone semi-final but Feargal Logan’s team have been impressive, winning that match comfortably and likewise when deposing champions Cavan. Donie Buckley’s coaching has had a visible effect on Monaghan and they look a far more integrated attacking force, and no longer a unit with no independent life outside of Conor McManus, whose qualities were still required to shut the door on Armagh.

They’re running up huge scores and also goals. When reaching the All-Irelands semi-final in 2018 they had two goals in four matches; this season it’s been five in two. The problem is that they’ve been conceding big as well and Tyrone have a decent attack when fully crewed - Cathal McShane and Conor McKenna came off the bench the last day and could be fit to start.

Monaghan have had a shocking fortnight after the death of under-20 captain, Brendan Óg Ó Dufaigh. They’ll be driven for this and have shown extraordinary resilience all year.

Verdict: Monaghan

Nicky Rackard Cup final

Mayo v Tyrone, Croke Park, 1.30 [Live, TG4 online]

Lory Meagher Cup final

Fermanagh v Cavan, Croke Park, 6.30 [Live, TG4 online]

All-Ireland Under-20FC semi-final

Offaly v Cork, O’Moore Park, 5.15 [LIVE, TG4]

Connacht MFC semi-final

Galway v Roscommon, Tuam Stadium, 7.0

SUNDAY

Dublin are aiming for their 11th Leinster football title in a row. File photograph: Brian Reilly-Troy/Inpho
Dublin are aiming for their 11th Leinster football title in a row. File photograph: Brian Reilly-Troy/Inpho

Leinster SFC final: Dublin v Kildare, Croke Park, 4.0 [LIVE, RTE2]

It didn’t take long for the buzzards to gather over the six-in-a-row champions after the underwhelming defeat of Meath in the semi-final. The problem for Kildare is that they aren’t at full strength going into this. Kevin Feely who starred in the 2017 Leinster final against the same opponents, is out for this and doubts hover over experienced defender Eoin Doyle.

They attacked well at times in the semi-final and Neil Flynn has been in super form. Much of the play was too ponderous, though and their defence was very open, allowing Westmeath latitude they should have exploited better. Dublin’s attack when switched on remains genuinely impressive and Kildare need to be tighter or disaster beckons.

The champions though have missing half a defence with no certainty about when John Small, Eoin Murchan and Robbie McDaid might be back. What was there against Meath didn’t convince in the second half and if Kildare can get Jimmy Hyland and the returning Daniel Flynn involved, they can exert pressure but the hope for Dessie Farrell is that Dublin will find a response to the mediocrity of the last day. But that’s what we all thought the last day.

Verdict: Dublin

Christy Ring Cup final

Derry v Offaly, Croke Park, 1.30 [TG4 ONLINE]

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