SFC weekend previews: Throw-in times, TV channels and verdicts

Roscommon and Galway face off at the Hyde, will Cluxton feature for Dublin?

 Galway’s Damien Comer and  Conor Devaney of Roscommon contest possession when the sides met in the league earlier this year. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Galway’s Damien Comer and Conor Devaney of Roscommon contest possession when the sides met in the league earlier this year. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

 

Saturday

Ulster SFC Quarter-final

Monaghan v Fermanagh

Throw-in: 3.30. Venue: Clones On TV: Live on BBC Two Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry)

For a team about to head into its eighth straight year in Division One, Monaghan’s form in Ulster has been pretty patchy. They haven’t made an Ulster final since 2015 and have lost to lower-division opposition in Down, Cavan (twice) and Fermanagh. Nonetheless, they are heavy favourites here against a Fermanagh side that coughed up some big scores in the league. Sean Quigley and Darragh McGurn can keep Ryan McMenamin’s side in touch but Monaghan should see it out.

Verdict: Monaghan

Sunday

Connacht SFC semi-final

Roscommon v Galway

Throw-in: 1.15 Venue: Dr Hyde Park On TV: Live on RTE Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)

Both these sides got relegated from Division One so for one of them it will be a completely lost year come mid-afternoon tomorrow. The return of Damien Comer is a huge boost for Galway - this will be his first championship start since August 2018. Roscommon have been able to match strides with their neighbours in recent years but that might have had as much to do with the previous Galway regime’s emphasis on sitting deep. Pádraic Joyce’s side will be coming here sore after the nightmare end to the league and the Rossies could feel the brunt of it.

Verdict: Galway

Leinster SFC quarter-finals

Laois v Westmeath

Throw-in: 1.30 Venue: Tullamore On TV: Live on GAAGo Referee: David Coldrick (Meath)

There’s never a whole lot between these two. Laois have won their last two championship meetings, Westmeath have come out on top each of the last five times they’ve faced off in the league. Neither can claim any great form coming in - they both lost four from four in the league and dropped to Division Three. Westmeath were the brighter of the two and a score of 0-25 against Cork was encouraging, albeit in defeat. They’re worth a tentative shout.

Verdict: Westmeath

Meath v Longford

Throw-in: 3.0 Venue: Navan On TV: Live on GAAGo Referee: Ciarán Branagan (Down)

Longford took care of business in impressive style against Carlow last week, drumming home their advantage early. Rian Brady is developing into a dangerous inside forward and the 0-10 from play he and Robbie Smyth shared between them last weekend bodes well. Longford beat Meath in the 2018 championship so they have more serious claims than the seven-point handicap suggests. But the home side are faster and more physically developed and it would be a major shock if they didn’t win here.

Verdict: Meath

Wexford v Dublin

Throw-in: 3.30 Venue: Wexford Park On TV: Live on GAAGo Referee: Derek O’Mahoney (Tipperary)

And lo, after 15 years, the Dubs were finally made to play an away match in an opponents’ home ground. There obviously won’t be much to see here beyond an attempt to clarify the playing status (or otherwise) of Stephen Cluxton. Still, Wexford is lovely this time of year.

Verdict: Dublin

Kildare v Offaly

Throw-in: 4.30 Venue: Portlaoise On TV: Live on GAAGo Referee: Martin McNally (Monaghan)

Kildare found themselves on a much stickier wicket than anyone predicted when these sides met in November. It took an inspired late cameo from Neil Flynn a day after burying his father to win it for Jack O’Connor’s side. Both teams have had a good league and John Maughan clearly has sparked something in Offaly. But Darragh Kirwan ran riot in this game last year and has kicked on through an impressive league. Between him, Flynn and Jimmy Hyland, Kildare surely have too much firepower to slip up here.

Verdict: Kildare

Ulster SFC Quarter-final

Armagh v Antrim

Throw-in: 3.30 Venue: Athletic Grounds On TV: Live on BBC Referee: Seán Hurson (Tyrone)

Time for Armagh to turn potential into presence. Kieran McGeeney’s up-and-comers aren’t kids any more. They’ve stayed in Division One, they’ve avoided Donegal and Tyrone in the Ulster draw and they have no significant injury worries. If there isn’t an Ulster title in them now, then when? They will see off Antrim with a bit to spare.

Verdict: Armagh

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