Saturday 3 December 2016

Today's Gaelic games previews

Damian Lawlor

Published 27/02/2011 | 05:00

Allianz Football League: (2.30 unless stated)

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Division 1

Galway v Mayo

Tuam Stadium, D Fahy (Longford)

A win would spray some light on Galway's season and in a local derby you couldn't rule it out. Mayo are minus Trevor Howley and Neil Douglas while Keith Higgins is also out and Enda Varley unlikely to feature. There are four or five other regulars injured. Last weekend, they should have beaten Kerry but before they feel too sorry for themselves, they failed to score for the first 19 minutes and also endured 20 scoreless minutes before the end. Add in 10 wides and the concession of 35 frees. But Galway are moving closer to the drop and only averaging 0-13. That will hardly be enough. It doesn't help that Gareth Bradshaw is out with a hamstring.

Verdict: Mayo

Cork v Monaghan

Páirc Uí Chaoimh, D Coldrick (Meath)

Against Dublin, Cork looked threatening for three-quarters of last Saturday night's clash but were ultimately exposed at the back and beaten for fitness. However, they're still getting back to the pace of top-flight football and it will help that Monaghan could still be deflated after a narrow loss to Armagh last weekend. Donncha O'Connor and Daniel Goulding are back near top form so they should claim the points. Monaghan should have seen off Armagh but it was nevertheless a decent performance. Still, the journey south should prove a taxing one as they do not possess the same firepower as Cork.

Verdict: Cork

Division 2

Derry v Laois

Celtic Park, 1.30. Ref: TBC

Home advantage could swing this for Derry in a table-topping match-up. On their travels, one can never know what to expect from Laois but they showed remarkable work-rate to beat Antrim with 14 men last weekend. MJ Tierney is really finding form with two man-of-the-match displays on the trot. Yet, they went 27 minutes without a score against Antrim and a repeat of that would be disastrous. Pádraig McMahon and Donie Kingston are still struggling with injury. Meanwhile, John Brennan's Derry picked off a nice win against Kildare last Sunday and after beating Tyrone earlier they will be in confident form this afternoon.

Verdict: Derry

Donegal v Kildare

Letterkenny, M Duffy (Sligo)

The Donegal football revolution gathers pace under Jim McGuinness, one of the best young coaches around. On opening day, they came from eight points down to seal a draw against Sligo and beat Tyrone last time out. Full-back Neil McGee misses today with injury while Rory Kavanagh has a groin problem, but Dermot Molloy will give them added impetus in attack. Kildare, meanwhile, need a win to maintain promotion hopes but only hit 0-11 in their loss to Derry, having tanked Antrim before that. Even with Fionn Dowling showing promise in the corner, however, they face a difficult task.

Verdict: Donegal

Sligo v Tyrone

Markievicz Park, J McQuillan (Cavan)

A poor start to the league for both counties who are obviously capable of much better. Sligo have a point from two games and only managed 0-8 against Meath. But at least the influential Alan Costello and Brendan Egan are nearing full fitness. Tyrone are pointless from two games and in dire need of a kick-start. Mickey Harte has sounded a rallying call, saying no-one fears them anymore, so there's bound to be a response. They only clocked 0-6 against Donegal but you'd have to imagine their strong-looking side will open the account away from home.

Verdict: Tyrone

Division 3

Wexford v Louth

Wexford Park, D Brazil (Offaly)

This could well be the game of the day -- in any division. Both have 100 per cent records and will be favourites to gain promotion and yet a loss here could be fatal. Louth are settled with wins over Westmeath and Tipp and have Shane Lennon in great form. Wexford, meanwhile, continue to show form. While their attack looks a little blunted, seven players weighed in with scores last time and Ben Brosnan is a find with 2-9 in two matches. The home side to prevail.

Verdict: Wexford

Tipperary v Westmeath

Semple Stadium, P O'Sullivan (Kerry)

Tipp were extremely unlucky to lose away to Louth last weekend and only for Paddy Keenan's late haul of points, they would have clinched a draw. While Barry Grogan is in good form, it's a worry that they only hit 0-5 from play against the Wee County. Still, they'll have more confidence than today's opponents who have not won a league game in 15 outings, even if Westmeath have a greater scoring spread

Verdict: Tipperary

Limerick v Offaly

Newcastlewest, C Lane (Cork)

Limerick were always going to struggle having flirted for so long with glory under Mickey Ned O'Sullivan and Donie Buckley. The momentum seems to have died a little. Offaly, meanwhile, were stung by Wexford last weekend and need a win if they are to reach Division 2. They're struggling badly for scores (only two players raised flags last Sunday) but should seal a second campaign win here.

Verdict: Offaly

Cavan v Waterford

Kingspan Breffni Park, J Curley (Meath)

After an opening-day shocker against Wexford, Waterford had a fine recent win over Limerick with Martin Ferncombe banging in two goals. They're still light in attack but won't fear Cavan, who mounted a plucky comeback against Westmeath last time out. Val Andrews' men will see this as two points waiting but if one of the O'Gorman twins can snuff out sharpshooter Seanie Johnston (1-4 last Sunday), the visitors could notch up a win and help save their Division 3 status.

Verdict: Waterford

Division 4

London v Leitrim

Ruislip 1.0, P Kneel (Louth)

Verdict: Leitrim

Carlow v Clare

Dr Cullen Park, K O'Brien (Tipperary)

Verdict: Clare

Fermanagh v Wicklow

Brewster Park, C Reynolds (Down)

Verdict: Wicklow

Longford v Kilkenny

Pearse Park, D Maher (Westmeath)

Verdict: Longford

Walsh Cup SH final

Kilkenny v Dublin

Parnell Park 2.0, B Gavin (Offaly)

Dublin hurling has all the signs of progression and with Conal Keaney scoring 0-14 last weekend against Tipp, they have an extra dimension in attack. Ryan O'Dwyer also looks impressive. But Kilkenny are on a mission to collect silverware this season and that should start today. Richie Hogan already looks like stepping up a gear this year.

Verdict: Kilkenny

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