GAA weekend previews: Throw-in times, TV details, predictions

Seán Moran looks ahead to tonight and tomorrow’s Allianz football league fixtures

Saturday

Division One Armagh v Kildare - Athletic Grounds, 6.0 (live, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport NI website)

Kildare must be thrilled to have three points from an opening four fixtures against the four most recent All-Ireland champions. Their defeats have been very narrow and performances good. The recent win over Dublin was built on excellent inside line defence, some exceptional forwards and a hard-working, ball -winning centrefield. They will travel confidently, as Armagh have stuttered in the last two fixtures. They do however have home advantage, one of the best attacks in the division to date and an improved defence.

Verdict: Armagh.

Kerry v Mayo - Austin Stack Park, 7.30 (live on RTÉ 2)

Both counties have achieved what they need from the league but it’s likely that Jack O’Connor would like to win it, as he did in preparation for each of his previous three All-Ireland wins. James Horan has introduced new players while keeping his team unbeaten. Aidan O’Shea is down for his first start of the campaign, slightly surprisingly given how well he’s contributed off the bench. Paddy Durcan is a welcome return whereas Aidan Orme of the new breed has been impressive. The challenge will be to keep a restraint on the top -scoring attack in the division even though there are injury concerns about Seán O’Shea. Kerry have also developed a better defensive attitude, starting in the forwards.

Verdict: Kerry.

Division Two

Down v Offaly - Páirc Esler, Newry, 5.0

This has emerged as a relegation ‘four-pointer’. Offaly were being measured for a shroud since day one but their recent performances have been encouraging and the graph is rising, as they travel north. They still have injuries but showed plenty of fight in Galway whereas Down were abject in losing to Roscommon. This is their crucial match, however, at home and against a direct rival. They have to lift it.

Verdict: Down.

Division Three

Antrim v Longford - Corrigan Park, 2.30

Surprising win for Longford against neighbours Westmeath, prefaces this trip to Belfast. The home side are in the mix for promotion after a late, but deserved equaliser in Portlaoise last time out.

Verdict: Antrim.

Limerick v Westmeath - TUS Gaelic Grounds, 7.0

Limerick got back on track after the unexpected defeat by Louth but Westmeath, apparent promotion certainties at the start of the season, lost again last week and look vulnerable again here.

Verdict: Limerick.

Sunday

Division One

Donegal v Monaghan - Ballybofey, 1.45 (live on TG4)

Another all-Ulster meeting with the visitors in dire need of something. Assorted hard-luck stories from the earlier matches gave way to a drubbing by Kerry whereas Donegal’s last outing was a comeback victory against Tyrone . Monaghan’s wasteful attempts at scoring have been a feature of the failure to rack up more points but apart from Kerry, they have been competitive . For all Donegal’s impregnable home record, they teetered against Tyrone before the impressive late response. Staring into the abyss, the visitors may find a response.

Verdict: Monaghan.

Tyrone v Dublin - Healy Park, 3.45 (live on TG4)

Speaking of the abyss, Dublin are on the verge of a worst ever run of league defeats and a first relegation in 27 years. The most recent defeat, in Newbridge, was their most competitive but they continued to use possession poorly and show a lack of finishing when chances arose - one goal in four matches so far. James McCarthy may be back for this, which at least will strengthen the leadership but they’ll be up against it, here. Tyrone have laboured after their All-Ireland success and there are concerns about some of their best players’ form to date but should be high as kites for this.

Verdict: Tyrone.

Division Two

Galway v Clare - Pearse Stadium, 2.0

Pádraic Joyce’s dismay over the performance against Offaly was an indicator that despite their perceived certainty of promotion, Galway aren’t there yet. Clare are a tough nut to crack but you suspect the week Joyce has given them will spur on Galway.

Verdict: Galway.

Meath v Cork - Páirc Tailteann, 2.0 (live on TG4 app and deferred coverage from 5.35)

Two All-Ireland adversaries from a generation ago get to the demoralising work of avoiding the drop. Meath lost their captain Shane McEntee, an army officer, who has been deployed overseas . Cork have lost a troop of players between walk-aways and injury. A chance for the visitors.

Verdict: Meath.

Roscommon v Derry - Dr Hyde Park, 2.0

Roscommon have had a very good season and would be joint-top had they not dropped a point to Clare. This is the main challenge in the division. Derry are strong throughout and have looked the best team this campaign. The leaders have to be favourites.

Verdict: Derry.

Division Three

Wicklow v Laois - Aughrim, 2.0

Under new management, Wicklow welcome a Laois side that were well beaten in Fermanagh last week. The home side have been competitive for a side apparently doomed but Laois need the points.

Verdict: Laois.

Fermanagh v Louth - Brewster Park, 3.30

This looks a promotion eliminator of sorts. Fermanagh’s output has been impressive with Seán Quigley the league’s top goal scorer.

Verdict: Fermanagh.

Division Four

Sligo v London - Markievicz Park, 12.0; Carlow v Leitrim - Cullen Park, 2.0; Cavan v Tipperary - Breffni, 2.0; Wexford v Waterford - Wexford Park, 2.0.

Latest Stories