All you need to know ahead of the final round of the Super 8s

The Super 8s: All or nothing left to play for with two semi-final places left

All eyes will be on Castlebar this weekend where  Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea and Donegal’s Michael Murphy seek to book their places in the All-Ireland semi-finals. Photograph:  Tommy Dickson/Inpho

All eyes will be on Castlebar this weekend where Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea and Donegal’s Michael Murphy seek to book their places in the All-Ireland semi-finals. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

 

They could actually be billed as the Super 3s, as only three teams, at best, have something tangible left to play for in this weekend’s final round of games. And in all probability it’s really only two.

Dublin and Tyrone have already guaranteed their places in the All-Ireland semi-finals from Group 2, and will face-off in Omagh on Sunday after with nothing left to play for, except perhaps in deciding their semi-final opponent - which they will know come their throw-in time.

The other game in Group 2 on Sunday afternoon, Cork against Roscommon at Páirc Uí Rinn, who haven’t a single point between them, is the proverbial dead rubber.

Instead, the only interest is in who will join Dublin and Tyrone from Group 1 - the other two teams coming from Kerry, Donegal and Mayo, with Kerry more or less already safely through as it is.

In Group 1, Saturday evening’s game between Mayo and Ulster champions Donegal is Castlebar is not quite a straight shootout to make the All-Ireland semi-final - or a indeed winner takes all - as a draw would be enough to see Donegal (on three points) through.

A draw could also be enough for Mayo (on two points), only for that to happen, Meath would need to have beaten Kerry by 11 points or more. Essentially, it is a must-win game for Mayo for them to go through.

No matter what happens in Castlebar, Meath’s interest in the championship will end in at home in Pairc Tailteann at the same time on Saturday evening, win, lose or draw against Kerry. Their opening two defeats to Donegal and then Mayo took care of that.

Kerry (three points) only need a draw to progress; a defeat would also see them through if Donegal beat Mayo. If Kerry lose and Mayo win, Mayo would go through, with the second place between Kerry and Donegal decided on points difference.

What matters after that is the semi-final pairings: if Dublin beat Tyrone and top Group 2, they may actually be at a marginal disadvantage, as they will play their All-Ireland semi-final just six days later. Whoever comes out on top in that game is fixed to play on the Saturday evening, August 10th, at 5pm.

Whoever loses will have seven days before they take on the Group 1 winners. Likewise, the Group 1 winners will get eight days to prepare for their semi-final.

The other semi-final between the Group 1 winners (likely to be Kerry, or else Donegal or Mayo) and the second placed team in Group 2 (Dublin or Tyrone) is scheduled for Croke Park on Sunday week, August 11th, with a 3.30pm throw-in.

Dublin and Tyrone are already assured of their places in the last four regardless of the result in Omagh.
Dublin and Tyrone are already assured of their places in the last four regardless of the result in Omagh.

The All-Ireland minor semi-finals are Mayo against Cork, and Kerry against Galway; one semi-final will be a curtain-raiser for either senior game, the day for each fixture will be confirmed by the GAA once the pairings at senior and minor are clear.

Mayo

It’s effectively a must-win game for James Horan if Mayo are to go through to the semi-finals, the heavy loss to Kerry salvaged by the win over Meath. A draw could actually be enough for Mayo (on two points), only for that to happen, Meath would need to have beaten Kerry by 11 points or more.

Donegal

The relatively short trip to Castlebar is not quite a straight shootout to make the All-Ireland semi-final, as a draw would be enough to see Donegal (on three points) through. Even a defeat could see Donegal through if Kerry are beaten by at least two points more in Navan.

Meath

No matter what happens in Castlebar, Meath’s interest in the championship will end in at home in Pairc Tailteann at the same time on Saturday evening, win, lose or draw against Kerry. Their opening two defeats to Donegal and then Mayo took care of that.

Kerry

With three points in the bag already they only need a draw to progress; a defeat would also see them through if Donegal beat Mayo. If Kerry somehow manage to lose and Mayo win, Mayo would go through, with the second place between Kerry and Donegal decided on points difference. Kerry are currently on +10, Donegal on +9.

Peter Keane’s Kerry cannot afford to slip up against Meath.
Peter Keane’s Kerry cannot afford to slip up against Meath.

Dublin

The drive for five will be just two stops short come Sunday evening, win, lose or draw against Tyrone. Having taken out Cork and Roscommon, they share four points with Tyrone, but Dublin boast a far superior scoring difference (+31 against +7 ) which means even a draw would see Dublin win the group.

Tyrone

Hosting the All-Ireland champions in Omagh is certainly not a non-event, although Mickey Harte’s team are also sure of their place in the All-Ireland semi-finals, win, lose or draw. What is left to play for here, like Dublin, is that semi-final pairing, as come 4pm on Sunday afternoon, they will know the outcome of Group 1, and who exactly awaits the winners and the losers in the semi-finals the following weekend. It’s still not much to play for, but may actually be something.

Roscommon

Just like last year, only this time as Connacht championships, the Super 8s have not been a happy hunting ground. Defeat to Tyrone in their first home game at Dr Hyde Park, 0-17 to 0-13, effectively sealed their fate, with Dublin in Croke Park up next. They lost that 2-26 to 0-14, and so the long journey to Páirc Uí Rinn for the 4pm throw-in on Sunday serves no immediate purpose beyond a midsummer challenge match.

Cork

Despite the positive starts against Dublin and especially Tyrone, Cork lost both their opening games, conceding 3-3 in the closing 10 minutes against Dublin to lose 5-18 to 1-17. They also had a six-point lead on Tyrone, 42 minutes into the second half, only to concede 2-2 without reply to lose 2-15 to 2-12. So ended their interest in the Super 8s, Sunday’s final round against Roscommon - mercifully, some might say, moved from Páirc Uí Chaoimh to the smaller Páirc Uí Rinn because of the pitch resurfacing - carrying no weight or significance whatsoever beyond perhaps some home pride.

Weekend Super 8s fixtures

Saturday
All-Ireland SFC quarter-final Group 1, phase 3: Mayo v Donegal, MacHale Park, 6pm - (Sky); Meath v Kerry, Pairc Tailteann, 6pm (Sky)

Sunday
All-Ireland SFC quarter-final Group 2, phase 3: Cork v Roscommon, Pairc Ui Rinn, 4pm ( RTE Player); Tyrone v Dublin, Healy Park, 4pm (RTE)

Saturday August 10th
All-Ireland SFC semi-final: Quarter-final group 2 winner v quarter-final group 1 runner-up, Croke Park, 5pm

Sunday August 11th
All-Ireland SFC semi-final: Quarter-final group 1 winner v quarter-final group 2 runner-up, Croke Park, 3.30pm

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