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All-Ireland SFC qualifiers -- Round 2 replay

(Extra-time if necessary)

Wicklow v Armagh, Aughrim, 7.0,

R Hickey (Clare)

Whatever happens tonight, the story in Aughrim will be Mick O'Dwyer. Defeat could mean this is his last game in charge, while a victory would give him one more shot at a return to Croke Park.

Ciaran McKeever's absence will be felt by Armagh, particularly in a hostile environment like Aughrim, though perhaps more significant is the loss of James Stafford to O'Dwyer's side. That could tip the balance in Armagh's favour.

Last championship clash: 2011 Round 2 qualifiers: Armagh 0-19 Wicklow 2-13 (aet).

Odds: Wicklow 9/4 Armagh 4/9 Draw 15/2

Verdict: Wicklow

wicklow -- TBC

ARMAGH -- P Hearty; A Mallon, B Donaghy, D McKenna; A Kernan, K Dyas, F Moriarty; J Lavery, C Vernon; J Hanratty, B Mallon, M Mackin; J Clarke, S McDonnell, M O'Rourke.

Donnchadh Boyle

All-Ireland SFC


(Extra-time if necessary)

Limerick v Waterford, Gaelic Grounds, 7.0, C Reilly (Meath)

Limerick have taken a while to get their season going but they are making up for lost time and caught the eye in their win over Offaly last week.

The Deise ended the London fairytale last weekend but another away draw was unkind to John Owens' men.

Waterford won when the sides met in the league in spring, but they haven't beaten Limerick in the championship since 1981.

Last championship clash: 2010 Munster semi-final: Limerick 1-17 Waterford 1-9.

Odds: Limerick 1/3 Waterford 11/4 Draw 9/1

Verdict: Limerick

Limerick -- TBC

WATERFORD -- K Cotter; M O'Gorman, T O'Gorman, K Connery; T Grey, C Phelan, W Hennessy; M Ahern, B Wall, P Whyte, S Dempsey, C O'Keeffe; S Fleming, G Hurney, P Hurney.

Antrim v Down, Casement Park, 7.0,

P Hughes (Armagh)

Having not won a qualifier since 2001, Antrim have developed a taste for the back door in recent weeks with wins over Westmeath and Carlow. They beat Down in their last championship meeting, though that was their first success over the Mourne men since 1970.

Last championship clash: 2000 Ulster quarter-final: Antrim 0-13 Down 1-7.

Odds: Antrim 7/2 Down 1/4 Draw 9/1

Verdict: Down


Down -- B McVeigh; A Branagan, D Gordon, B McArdle; C Garvey, K McKernan, G McCartan; D Rooney, K King; C Mooney, M Poland, L Doyle; C Laverty, B Coulter, M Clarke.

Donnchadh Boyle

Meath v Kildare, Navan, 7.0,

J McQuillan (Cavan). *LIVE RTE

If familiarity breeds contempt then Navan could be hot and heavy. This is the fourth meeting between the sides in less than 12 months (two championship clashes and one league encounter) and Kildare have won each of the previous three by an aggregate of 16 points.

It's grim reading for Meath, who won't name their side until just before throw-in. Kieran McGeeney has picked his team but there is speculation that James Kavanagh, who was not named to start, will feature from the first whistle.

Meath were gritty and intermittingly good against Galway, but all the logic points to a Kildare win after their usual second-half power surge.

Last championship clash: 2011 Leinster quarter-final: Kildare 0-16 Meath 0-10.

Odds: Meath 2/1 Kildare 8/15 Draw 7/1

Verdict: Kildare

Meath -- TBC

Kildare -- S Connolly; A MacLochlainn, M Foley, H McGrillen; G White, M O'Flaherty, E Bolton; J Doyle, AN Other; P O'Neill, E O'Flaherty, E Callaghan; R Kelly, T O'Connor, F Dowling.

Donnchadh Boyle


Connacht SFC final

Roscommon v Mayo, Dr Hyde Park, 2.0,

M Collins (Cork). *Live TV3

For the first time in over two years, Roscommon are taking on one of the province's 'Big Two', a challenge which could define where they are headed.

A win over Mayo would establish them at a level not reached since 1991 when they last retained the Connacht title and were very unlucky not to beat Meath in the All-Ireland semi-final, whereas a defeat would stall what has been an impressive project over the past 15 months.

They go into tomorrow's game on a high after winning promotion and easily advancing to the Connacht final. However, it must be of concern that they were operating in Division 4 of the NFL before beating New York and Leitrim, neither of whom are strong forces.

They are now stepping up considerably in class against Mayo, who had seven tests in Division 1 in the spring before beating Galway (who were also in the top flight) in the Connacht semi-final.

They weren't especially impressive in that game but they have been operating at a higher level than Roscommon right throughout the season, which could prove crucial.

2011 championship: Mayo 0-19 London 2-10 (aet); Mayo 1-12 Galway 1-6; Roscommon 3-21 New York 1-11; Roscommon 2-12 Leitrim 0-6.

Last championship clash: 2009 Connacht semi-final: Mayo 3-18 Roscommon 0-7.

Odds: Mayo 4/6 Roscommon 6/4 Draw 15/2

Verdict: Mayo

Roscommon -- G Claffey; S McDermott, N Carty, S Ormsby; D Keenan, P Domican D Ward; M Finneran, K Mannion; S O'Grady, K Higgins, C Cregg; C Devaney, S Kilbride, D Shine.

Mayo -- R Hennelly; K Higgins, A Feeney, T Cunniffe; R Feeney, D Vaughan, T Mortimer; A O'Shea, S O'Shea; K McLoughlin, A Dillon, A Moran; C O'Connor, A Freeman, J Doherty.

Martin Breheny

Ulster SFC final

Derry v Donegal, Clones, 4.0, M Deegan (Laois). *Live on TV3/BBC

When Derry and Donegal last clashed in the Ulster final in 1998, neither they -- or anybody else -- could never have envisaged that the next 12 titles would be shared between Armagh and Tyrone.

Now, Donegal and Derry, who saw off Tyrone and Armagh respectively, have a great opportunity to impose themselves on the Ulster scene and take their challenge directly to All-Ireland level.

Donegal's progress has been spectacular under new manager Jim McGuinness, who has taken them into Division 1 and through to the Ulster final in his first season.

There has been some criticism of Donegal's defensive game but, frankly, it's exaggerated.

Besides, who can argue with McGuinness if it brings them their first Ulster title for 19 years?

Donegal's giveaway in three Ulster games averaged just 0-9 whereas Derry's strike rate in their two games averaged 2-16, so something has to give tomorrow.

Derry's case has been weakened by the absence of top scorer Eoin Bradley, who was having an outstanding season.

They are playing an attractive style of football under new manager John Brennan, but they may find Bradley's absence could hand the initiative to Donegal.

2011 championship: Donegal 1-10 Antrim 0-7; Donegal 2-14 Cavan 1-8; Donegal 2-6 Tyrone 0-9; Derry 1-18 Fermanagh 1-10; Derry 3-14 Armagh 1-11.

Last championship clash: 2009 Round 3 qualifiers: Donegal 2-13 Derry 0-18 (aet).

Odds: Donegal 4/6 Derry 6/4 Draw 15/2

Verdict: Donegal

Donegal -- TBC

Derry -- TBC

Martin Breheny

Connacht MFC final

Roscommon v Galway, Dr Hyde Park, 12.0, R McBrien (Leitrim)

Galway manager Tommie Joyce insisted that this Roscommon side has been talked about in the same vein as the team that won the 2006 All-Ireland title, though it appears that his side are the ones to watch out for as they boast a number of the St Jarlath's Tuam side that reached the Hogan Cup final.

Roscommon CBS did win an All-Ireland Colleges 'B' title and ended Mayo's reign as Connacht champions in the semi-final, so they're in with a shout of delivering a first Connacht title at the grade since '06.

It's almost too close to call but Galway's Shane Maughan kicked 1-7 last time out and that firepower could be decisive.

Odds: Roscommon 6/4 Galway 4/6 Draw 7/1

Verdict: Galway

Donnchadh Boyle

Ulster MFC final

Armagh v Cavan, Dr Hyde Park, 2.0,

C O'Hagan (Tyrone)

Tomorrow marks a third consecutive appearance in the Ulster final at this grade for Armagh, who will look to Conor McNally and Paul McGeown to provide the scores.

If Armagh were expected to make it this far, Cavan are something of a surprise packet.

They beat reigning All-Ireland champions Tyrone in their semi-final, with Conor Finnegan a leading light, but the Orchard men won the league encounter between the sides and that gives them an edge.

Odds: Armagh 1/2 Cavan 2/1 Draw 7/1

Verdict: Armagh

donnchadh Boyle



All-Ireland SENIOR Championship

Clare v Dublin, Cusack Park, 2.0,

M O'Kelly (Cork)

The Banner will be aiming for a powerful performance against a young Dublin side seeking their first win of the season.

Verdict: Clare

Wexford v Offaly,Wexford Park, 2.0,

E Mac Suibhne (Dublin)

A repeat of the Leinster final. The Model County came out on top in that tie, but encountered a spirited and skilful Offaly side who are improving steadily.

Verdict: Wexford

Cork v Tipperary, CIT, 2.0,

K O'Brien (Dublin)

These age-old rivals renew acquaintances in round six of the qualifying series. Cork manager Joe O'Brien is expected to name a full-strength side, with Tipp targeting a vital win to keep them in contention for a final four slot.

Verdict: Cork

Galway v Kilkenny, Duggan Park, 4.0,

O Elliott (Antrim)

Both sides come into this tie with one defeat and today's clash is bound to be an intense encounter. Galway's firepower and home advantage should pay dividends.

Verdict: Galway

Irish Independent