Weekend football previews: Throw-in times, TV details, team news

Seán Moran gives his verdicts on the Allianz League and Croke Park club finals


Kerry v Dublin, Austin Stack Park, 7.0 – Live RTÉ 2

Allowing that the competition was mostly regionalised up until the 1970s, Dublin's record in Tralee is poor: two wins in 95 years of the league. Those two, 1982 and 2013, were followed by All-Irelands. Historical trivia aside, this is a big date for Dessie Farrell's team. The porous defending and aimless attack of last week will be punished here even if Kerry weren't impressive on their own first outing and are understrength at centrefield. The quality of Dublin's forward play has deteriorated badly and that leaves them vulnerable to anyone, let alone Kerry. Verdict: Kerry

Down v Galway, Páirc Esler, 5.0 – Live BBC iPlayer/BBC Sport NI website

Unfortunate timing for Down in having to turn up understrength in Derry last week and compounded now by the arrival of a focused looking Galway, who have started the year as if they mean business. Cillian McDaid reminded everyone of what a bonus his return from AFL should be if he gets an injury-free run. Down will dig in and used the long ball a bit in Derry but it will hardly be enough. Verdict: Galway

Cork v Clare, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 7.0
Clare were comprehensively too good for Offaly in week one and now take on another team in transition. Cork's new manager Keith Ricken sounded pessimistic or stoic after his team, with an influx of newcomers, endured a poor outing in Roscommon. They'll need to be careful here. Verdict: Clare

Antrim v Limerick, Corrigan Park, 2.30

Two excellent displays on the first weekend. Antrim were a bit open at the back but survived to finish strongly in Enniskillen with nine different scorers. Limerick were impressive, bucking the low scoring trend (1.5 per game) of the opening round with four goals but the home side may be going places. Verdict: Antrim


Armagh v Tyrone, Athletic Grounds, 2.0 – TG4 YouTube (deferred on TG4)

Armagh lit up the start of the league with a swashbuckling take down of Dublin. Looked at in context, they have loved the good surface, which played to their forward strengths – as did the Dublin backs – and their improved defence had their spirits lifted by as uninventive an attack as they're likely to get in Division One. This will be different. Tyrone aren't fully back in gear but survived when under the cosh from Monaghan. Their attack got bogged down in the conditions and aren't firing on all cylinders yet anyway but they quarried out the scores. Armagh are in good shape and buzzing after last week and are the form pick. Verdict: Armagh

Monaghan v Mayo, Clones, 2.0
Séamus McEnaney was pretty Zen about squandering the chance to win in Omagh but there were positives for Monaghan. They created a lot more scoring opportunities and need to tighten the execution. Goalkeeper Rory Beggan ran the show and even scored from play. Darren Hughes was incessant industry and newcomer Gary Mohan put himself about. Mayo equalised by taking Donegal for a late score. They had less practice under their belts and so may be excused another listless first half, necessitating the breathless chase. Lee Keegan starts his 12th year of intercounty but news of Tommy Conroy's cruciate overshadowed James Horan's week and this is a hard trip. Verdict: Monaghan

Donegal v Kildare, Ballybofey, 2.30
The strength of the Glenn Ryan effect in Newbridge gave Kildare a great start to their notoriously difficult first four fixtures: Tyrone and Dublin to come. Kerry dithered and played into their hands but the conviction of Kildare's recovery was undeniable and they deserved the point. Donegal will be crestfallen to have blown another big lead and to have had an obvious win dashed at the bitter end. They were lively though in building the advantage and at home, will hope to get it right this time. Verdict: Donegal

Meath v Roscommon, Páirc Tailteann, 2.0

Two very different experiences. Meath had the country agog as they waited until the 45th minute to register a first score. Roscommon, weakened by their clubs' All-Ireland involvement, produced an excellent display to take the points off Cork. They'll surely face a Meath backlash after the Galway performance but will it be enough? Verdict: Roscommon

Offaly v Derry, Bórd na Móna O'Connor Park, 2.0
Offaly were initially lively in Ennis but ran out of steam, as a more seasoned Clare asserted themselves. It's probably going to be a campaign of hard lessons for John Maughan's team. Derry were convincing winners against Down and evidence is the gap that existed when these counties met in last year's Division Three final hasn't narrowed. Verdict: Derry

Laois v Westmeath, MW Hire O'Moore Park, 2.0

Laois found their scoring touch eventually in Drogheda with Gary Walsh hitting 2-2 as they figured out the Louth defence. Westmeath laboured more than expected in beating Wicklow but eventually harnessed the elements. Verdict: Laois

Longford v Louth, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, 2.0
Both beaten last week but Longford nearly recovered to overhaul Limerick whereas Louth lost early initiative. They also shipped the most goals – four and three, respectively – but if Longford can improve their conversion rate, there's no reason why their five-year unbeaten run against this opposition can't be extended. Verdict: Longford

Wicklow v Fermanagh, Aughrim, 2.0
Wicklow were a bit unlucky in Mullingar. Their young side blitzed Westmeath in the first half when they had the elements with them but lost Rory Stokes to a second yellow before half-time and were reeled in, in the second half. Fermanagh, ultimately well beaten by Antrim, need to do better in what is already 'a four-pointer'. Verdict: Wicklow

London v Waterford, Ruislip, 1.0

Big win for London in Carlow after a long competitive lay-off and Waterford had a creditable draw against Tipp. Waterford haven't lost this for six years and can keep that record intact. Verdict: Waterford

Sligo v Carlow, Markievicz Park, 1.0
Good win for Sligo in Wexford and they should make home advantage count against London's victims, Carlow. Verdict: Sligo

Cavan v Wexford, Kingspan Breffni, 2.0
Cavan eventually got it done against Leitrim and will look to continue the promotion push at home. Verdict: Cavan

Tipperary v Leitrim, FBD Semple Stadium, 2.0
Disappointing result for Tipp in Dungarvan and there were signs that Andy Moran has energised Leitrim. Could be tricky. Verdict: Tipperary

JFC: Gneeveguilla (Kerry) v Kilmeena (Mayo), Croke Park, 1.30 – TG4 YouTube

This could be very interesting. Kilmeena are fast and cohesive but Gneeveguilla are heavy hitters – five goals in the semi-final. Verdict: Gneeveguilla

IFC: Steelstown Brian Óg's (Derry) v Trim (Meath), Croke Park, 3.30 – TG4 YouTube
Trim arrive with a strong spine to the team and a definitively Meath tendency to dig in and fight for everything but Steelstown may be just be too potent up front. Verdict: Steelstown

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