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

Seán Moran looks ahead to a weekend which includes Ulster and Leinster semi-finals

Dublin and Meath renew acquaintances in Sunday’s Leinster SFC semi-final. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Dublin and Meath renew acquaintances in Sunday’s Leinster SFC semi-final. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Saturday July 17th

Ulster SFC semi-final

Armagh v Monaghan, Páirc Esler, 4pm [Sky Sports Arena, deferred coverage, 7.55pm BBC Two NI]

The Ulster semi-finals are reruns of the fixtures on the opening day of the league, two months ago. This pairing was a tight enough encounter which Armagh deservedly won but Monaghan have kicked on.

Donie Buckley’s coaching has sharpened them up and Séamus McEnaney has found some new players but retained the old spirit, as evidenced by picking Galway’s pocket in the relegation play-off.

Armagh have a very good attack, built around the O’Neills and Rory Grugan, but their ability to containing a running game was put under the spotlight by a well-drilled Antrim until the goals came.

Darren Hughes and Conor McManus are expected to play despite injury scares and Monaghan’s knowhow and cussedness can tilt the balance.

Verdict: Monaghan

Sunday July 18th

Ulster SFC semi-final

Donegal v Tyrone, Brewster Park, 1.45pm [RTE2, BBC Two NI]

Neither side broke the clapometer last week although the wins over Derry and Cavan were positive outcomes. Derry pushed Donegal all the way and were arguably unlucky not to get to extra time.

Michael Murphy was sprung from the bench to put order on things in the final quarter and just as well but a more sustained presence will be needed here. Chris McKaigue’s marking job on Patrick McBrearty was a study but McKaigue’s no ordinary defender - good news though that Ronan McNamee beat his red-card rap on Thursday.

Cavan were well in the game against Tyrone until the half-hour mark when their challenge just atrophied and thereafter the deposed champions looked out of options.

Tyrone will need all their firepower for this and injury concerns hover over Darragh Canavan and Conor McKenna, neither of whom appeared last week. Former All Star Cathal McShane did finally make an appearance after a lengthy injury and that is good news. Donegal with Murphy on the field and Odhran MacNiallais also making an impact off the bench look slightly more likely given their panel and the jolt of last week.

Verdict: Donegal

Leinster SFC semi-finals

Kildare v Westmeath, Croke Park, 2pm [GAAGO]

Despite their relegation, Westmeath were tidy enough in the demolition of Laois, allowing that the outcome maligned the losers, who had been leading at half-time.

The winners have some decent weaponry and took over in the final quarter, riddling their opponents. Lorcan Dolan and the perennial Ger Egan did much of the damage and that may be of relevance given that failure to finish good opportunities did much to undermine Offaly’s chances against Kildare, who in fairness are much improved defensively.

Neil Flynn had a super match for Jack O’Connor’s team and Westmeath need a strategy to deal with him as well as steep improvement in their discipline.

Verdict: Kildare

Dublin v Meath, Croke Park, 4.30pm [GAAGO]

The hits keep coming for Dessie Farrell and Dublin’s defence is down to bare bones given the injuries to John Small, Robbie McDaid and Eoin Murchan. From centrefield up, the selection is more imposing - provided you strip out the Wexford performance, which will have given Meath great optimism.

One obvious problem is that the bench, which drove home many a Dublin victory, is now unproven as a cavalry. All of the subs who came into last November’s Leinster final are now either departed the panel or in the starting line-up.

Against that, are Meath ready to turn around a 21-point defeat in eight months? In 2019 they managed to keep it tight for a while whereas last year, an early goal melted them. Their performance against Longford ended up in an encouragingly emphatic win but it took a while to materialise.

Dublin are vulnerable and whereas it’s true that apparently monolithic champions can collapse without warning, it’s not going to happen here.

Verdict: Dublin

All-Ireland MFC 2020 final

Derry v Kerry, Bórd na Móna O’Connor Park, 1pm [TG4]

Derry’s efficient defeat of Meath suggests they are going to be more competitive than their 2017 predecessors who were hammered by David Clifford. Kerry’s scoring acumen is still impressive, as shown in the defeat of Roscommon.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.