What to watch, where to go, who to bet on – your guide to the weekend’s sport

Dublin/Mayo renew rivalries, Liverpool need three points and Katie Taylor is in action

What’s on?

There's no Six Nations matches this weekend but still plenty happening elsewhere - with the four provinces all in Pro12 action.

It's a busy weekend in the Allianz Leagues with both hurling and football fixtures - last year's All-Ireland football finalists Dublin and Mayo meet in Croke Park in the pick of the lot on Saturday night. Liverpool and Arsenal meet in the Premier League in a crucial encounter in the battle for Champions League places. While our own Katie Taylor is taking on Italy's Monica Gentili, looking to extend her undefeated professional record to 3-0.

The main events


1. Liverpool v Arsenal (Anfield, Saturday 5.30)

2. Dublin v Mayo (Croke Park, Saturday 7.00)

3. Katie Taylor v Monica Gentili (02 Arena, Saturday, undercard begins 6.00)

4. Leinster v Scarlets (RDS, Saturday 7.35)

5. Kilkenny v Cork (Nowlan Park, Sunday 2.00)

The daily highlights


On Friday night there is a double serving of Pro12 action as both Ulster and Connacht host Italian opposition.

Benetton Treviso travel to Ravenhill where Jared Payne - back in the Irish squad for the last two rounds of the Six Nations - makes his return from injury to the Ulster XV (7.35, BBC 2).

While Pat Lam’s Connacht host bottom of the table Zebre at the Sportsground - last year’s champions have made 12 changes to their XV for the encounter. That’s underway at the same time as the Ulster game, live on TG4.

There are five League of Ireland fixtures taking place. Including Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians' Dublin derby (7.30 RTE 2).

The European Indoor Championships begin in Belgrade with 10 Irish athletes taking part over the weekend.

The main Irish hope is Ciara Mageean in the 1,500m (womens)and her first round run is underway at 4.05 (BBC 2, Eurosport 1).

Rory McIlroy continues his comeback in the second round of the WGC-Mexico Championship. On Friday his tee time is 6.53 Irish time (Sky Sports 4, 7pm-12.0).

In the European Tour, Paul Dunne and Darren Clarke are hoping for much improved second rounds at the Thswane Open in South Africa (SS4, 8.30-10.30am, 12.30-3.30).


Early in the day there's the third round of the European Tour golf in South Africa. While the early Premier League kick-off sees Manchester United take on Bournemouth (12.30 SS1).

There's Division 1A hurling action from 5pm, with Dublin hosting Waterford in the first of a Croke Park double-header (eir Sport 2). While in 1B Limerick host Offaly at the Gaelic Grounds.

Then at 7pm in Croker, the Dublin footballers take on Mayo in a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland final (eir Sport 2). While at the same time Tyrone host Monaghan (eir Sport 1) and in another all-Ulster clash Cavan host Donegal (eir Sport 2 SD).

In the Pro12 Cardiff Blues host Munster, looking to get back to winning ways after last weekend's home defeat to Scarlets - at Arms Park (5.15 SS2).

That’s before Leinster look to avoid a similar fate as Scarlets travel to the RDS (7.35 TG4).

In the weekend’s big Premier League match, Liverpool and Arsenal - both in need of a morale-boosting win - do battle at Anfield for valuable points in the race for the top four (5.30 BT1).

On the domestic front Sligo Rovers take on champions Dundalk, and that kicks off at 7.45.

If all goes to plan on Friday, Ciara Mageean will run in the European Indoor Championships 1,500m final at 6.45 live on RTE2. She’s looking to build on her bronze medal showing at the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam last year.

Round three of the WGC-Mexico Championship is live on Sky Sports 4 (5.10-11.0).

All that before Katie Taylor fights Italy's Monica Gentili on the undercard of the David Haye and Tony Bellew contest at the 02 Arena (Sky box Office from 7.00). Taylor is the favourite to secure a third professional win from three - the undercard is underway at 6pm.


Sunday is a manic day on the GAA front - 12 football and 14 hurling matches.

The only Division One football game sees Roscommon host Kerry, both teams desperate to pick up points after slow starts to the campaign (Dr Hyde Park, 2.00).

Meath versus Galway at Pairc Tailteann (2.00) mightn’t have the allure of yesteryear, but it should still be an exciting contest with plenty of history between the two .

The focus on Sunday though is on the hurling action, with a struggling Kilkenny hosting Cork at Nowlan Park (TG4 2.00), before deferred coverage of Tipperary and Clare’s meeting at 5.00 (TG4).

Tottenham play Everton at 1.30pm in the toast of the day's soccer action, before Sunderland host free-scoring Manchester City at the Stadium of Light (SS1 4.00).

Then on Sunday evening Rory McIlroy knows that he will return to the world number one spot with a victory on his return to competition in Mexico (SS4, 5.0-11.0).

Any spares?

Pre-purchase adult tickets for Saturday evening’s double header at Croke Park are going for €12 - on the night they are €15.

Adult tickets for Leinster versus Scarlets at the RDS are ranging from €20 (Anglesa Terrace) to €60 for the Grandstand.

Tickets are still available for Connacht’s Pro12 match at the Sportsground, the cheapest of which being €22 for the College Road Terrace. While tickets for the Ulster game are varying from £17 to £60.


Odds on another Dublin and Mayo draw - as was the case in last year’s All-Ireland final, and the 2015 semi-final - are 15/2 with Paddy Power.

Dublin have already drawn their last two games of course. And while they’ve seemed there for the taking so far, are Mayo the team to ruthlessly push them over that edge?

In the last two league meetings between Liverpool and Arsenal there have been 13 goals scored. Neither team have been too impressive defensively of late either - so expect goals again. Over 3.5 goals is a teasing 2/1 with Paddy Power.

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue is a former Irish Times journalist