Weekend GAA previews: Throw-in times, TV details and verdicts

Kerry line out against Roscommon fresh from their gripping draw with Dublin

Kerry’s David Clifford scores a penalty to end the game in a draw in the Allianz Football League Division 1 South game  between Dublin and Kerry in Semple Stadium on Sunday May 23rd. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Kerry’s David Clifford scores a penalty to end the game in a draw in the Allianz Football League Division 1 South game between Dublin and Kerry in Semple Stadium on Sunday May 23rd. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

 

ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE: SATURDAY

Division One North

Armagh v Donegal
Athletic Grounds, 7.30 (Eir Sport)
A revisiting of a championship thrashing last winter will presumably fire up Armagh who have been respectable in their return to the top flight after nine years. Donegal will be without Michael Murphy, whose early retirement last week saw the team nearly lose. Patrick McBrearty stepped up and in the circumstances it was a good recovery to draw with Monaghan when Murphy, Neil McGee and Hugh McFadden were all off the pitch. Armagh were a little unlucky that they missed a penalty and soon after conceded a goal – a six-point swing. Donegal will add to the 24 players already used, especially as they can’t actually qualify for the league final.
Verdict: Donegal

Tyrone v Monaghan
Healy Park, 7.30 (GAAGO)
Both counties really need to win this even if Tyrone might get away with a draw. Tyrone weren’t bad in Armagh last week even if the task of winning might have been steeper, but they have played some open football and their attack is looking menacing, with Paul Donaghy adding cut, Darren McCurry in form, Niall McKenna in pursuit of last year’s form and hopes that Cathal McShane is nearly back. Monaghan’s casting-off of the shackles meant that it was a very open match against Donegal – so open that there was a hat-trick for Conor McCarthy. These are usually dour affairs so it will be interesting if the new era actually enlivens it.
Verdict: Tyrone

Division Three North

Cavan v Derry
Kingspan Breffni, 3.0 (TG4)
Derry have been impressive and only Kerry have out-scored them in the rest of the league. Cavan under Mickey Graham haven’t been obsessed with league performance as opposed to preparing for championship. That’s a lot of chips, though, to lay on the table for a knockout match with Tyrone. The Ulster champions can raise it.
Verdict: Cavan

Fermanagh v Longford
Brewster Park, 3.0 (GAAGO)
Longford, now boasting the worst points difference in the league, recovered a little for the Cavan match and although they banked enough confidence to believe they can win this – especially after Fermanagh’s demoralising day in Derry – and conditions will suit them better, the same is true of the home side.
Verdict: Fermanagh

Division Three South

Wicklow v Limerick
Aughrim 3.0 (GAAGO)
Limerick’s trajectory faltered last week, when they might have lost more heavily, and this is no shoo-in, as Wicklow have shown themselves so far to be competitive. But Hugh Bourke has been scoring abundantly and, at their best, Limerick can win.
Verdict: Limerick

Offaly v Tipperary
Bórd Na Móna O’Connor Park 3.0 (GAAGO)
This division is so tightly poised that any of the four could go up. We’re still waiting for Tipp to show Munster champion form and they had to pedal to beat Wicklow. Offaly are 100 per cent but could equally be caught. They’ve had a far greater hold on matches to date than the score suggests, and a decent bench gives them an advantage. Touch and go.
Verdict: Offaly

Division Four South

Carlow v Wexford
Netwatch Cullen Park, 5.0 (GAAGO)
Wexford need the win here and have the encouragement of having won last year’s fixture, but defeat by Waterford was a big setback. Still, they have players coming back, whereas Carlow lost a number, including Ross Dunphy, in their first match. It gives the visitors a glimpse.
Verdict: Wexford

Galway manager Padraic Joyce. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/Inpho
Galway manager Padraic Joyce. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/Inpho

SUNDAY

Division One South

Galway v Dublin
Tuam Stadium, 3.45 (TG4)
Dublin appeared a bit blase about throwing away a seven-point lead in Thurles, but if it inoculates against reoccurrence it might be worth it. Some of the tactical flights of fancy may have been calculated to mess with Kerry’s heads – Fenton at centre forward – but it was a catalogue of mistakes that squandered the lead: failure to turn the screw on Kerry kick-outs at the end and a ham-fisted penalty concession. They did show that they hadn’t lost the ability to exploit loose defence, but even Galway mightn’t be that sloppy. They rehabbed well after the humiliation in Tralee but their main selling points – Paul Conroy dominating the middle and Rob Finnerty kicking five from play – may not be for rinse-and-repeating against Dublin. Pádraic Joyce would probably be happy with a performance like last year’s in Salthill, competitive and narrow defeat.
Verdict: Dublin

Roscommon v Kerry
Dr Hyde Park, 3.45 (TG4 player)
Kerry showed good resolve to dig out last week’s draw against Dublin. It may have been excessively reliant on David Clifford, but what’s strange about that? Diarmuid O’Connor at centrefield also had a robust game and they really took the fight to the All-Ireland champions in terms of turning over ball and hitting on the counter. Roscommon didn’t rise above their shortcomings against Galway, losing centrefield and having Enda Smith eclipsed, but they hung on and even briefly threatened the outcome. Unlikely to find it as easy here.
Verdict: Kerry

Division Two North

Westmeath v Down
TEG Cusack Park, 1.45 (GAAGO)
Westmeath have made a decent impact in this campaign, pushing both Meath and Mayo all the way. Down have looked out of their depth and don’t appear likely to change that at this stage.
Verdict: Westmeath

Mayo v Meath
Elverys MacHale Park, 1.45 (GAAGO)
This was a good old tussle in Navan 15 months and several worlds ago when Mayo were lucky to win. Cillian O’Sullivan was excellent last week – and indeed in last year’s fixture – whereas Mayo laboured in Mullingar. James Horan will tinker with the selection given their unassailable position, but he’ll also want a response to a mediocre performance.
Verdict: Mayo

MAYO: Rob Hennelly; Eoin O'Donoghue, Oisín Mullin, Lee Keegan; Michael Plunkett, Stephen Coen (capt), Fergal Boland; Matthew Ruane, Diarmuid O'Connor; Fionn McDonagh, Darren McHale, Brian Walsh;Paul Towey, Cillian O'Connor, James Carr.

Division Two South

Clare v Cork
Cusack Park, 1.45 (TG4)
There’s not much more to be added to the ovations Colm Collins has been receiving after a brilliant start to a campaign that had been overshadowed by retirements, but the authority of the victories over Laois and Kildare has been impressive. Eoin Cleary stood up in Newbridge, but the team dynamic is strong. Cork thumped Laois and need something out of this, but form is against them.
Verdict: Clare

Laois v Kildare
MW Hire O’Moore Park, 1.45 (GAAGO)
Losing at home to Clare was bad enough for Jack O’Connor, but the manner in which Kildare completely failed to rise to the last 10 minutes’ end-game was a contrast to the emphatic defeat of Cork. Fellow Kerry man Mike Quirke was frustrated by Laois’s wastefulness last week, and if that hasn’t improved it’s hard to see them getting much out of this.
Verdict: Kildare

Division Four North

Antrim v Leitrim
Corrigan Park, 3.0 (GAAGO)
Antrim have had a good campaign and are uncatchable at the top, whereas Leitrim, who were all ready to challenge seriously for the semi-final places, have failed to raise a gallop. With a likely death-sentence draw in Connacht, the season looks over.
Verdict: Antrim

Louth v Sligo
Haggardstown, 3.0 (GAAGO)
Mickey Harte’s Louth gave Leitrim a sound beating and face Tony McEntee’s Sligo in a winner-takes-all encounter, with the qualification that a draw will suffice for Louth.
Verdict: Louth

ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE: SUNDAY

Division 1B

Kilkenny v Wexford
UC Nowlan Park, 3.0
Postponed by a week and, in the meantime, the talk of the Covid testing labs, this year’s renewal of a fixture with a lively history since David Fitzgerald took over in Wexford is probably something both sides could do without given the tightness of the season and the likely Leinster semi-final in little over a month. Wexford’s two matches to date have ended well but shown plenty of more worrying signs at other stages. Kilkenny have been measured in seeing out the finales against Dublin and Antrim, but it’s hard to see too much improvement in the team even if it’s early days. Their steady capability in the matches to date gives them advantage against the wildly oscillating visitors.
Verdict: Kilkenny

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