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WEEKEND GAA

Donegal v Kerry, Ballybofey,

M Duffy (Sligo).

*Live on Setanta.

Home advantage always strengthens Donegal's hand, but they are drastically hit by early-season injuries and, in contrast, face a visiting side which features 12 of Kerry's All-Ireland starters, with Darragh and Tomas O Se and the Gooch the only absentees.

Last year: Donegal 1-15 Kerry 0-13 (NFL).

Ladbrokes betting: Kerry 5/6, Donegal 5/4, draw 7/1.

Verdict: Kerry.

Tyrone v Kildare, Omagh,

V Neary (Mayo).

Ex-Armagh legend Kieran McGeeney (right) goes "back to the future" against the old enemy in his first game in charge of Kildare and is not helped by doubts about the availability of Dermot Earley, Aindriu MacLochlainn and Michael Conway. Tyrone have an S O'Neill in their forwards but it's a debutant (Shaun) as Stephen O'Neill has prematurely retired. They have two new corner-backs, Conor Gormley at full-back and home advantage.

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Last year: Did not meet.

Ladbrokes betting: Tyrone 4/11, Kildare 11/4, draw 8/1.

Verdict: Tyrone.

Derry v Mayo, Celtic Park, J Bannon (Longford)

Derry have three newcomers (John Deighton, Ryan Dillon and Michael McBride), all in defence, and just nine of last summer's quarter-finalists but look in good form, reaching the McKenna Cup final. With many of the old guard still not back, John O'Mahony's young guns need to come good this year and he's experimenting with Billy Joe Padden at full-back today.

Last year: Derry 2-13 Mayo 1-6 (All-Ireland Qualifier)

Ladbrokes betting: Derry 4/7, Mayo 9/5, draw 7/1.

Verdict: Derry.

Division 2

Dublin v Westmeath, Parnell Park, J McQuillan (Cavan).

Dublin have beefed up their side since beating Westmeath by 10 points in the O'Byrne Cup and while they're short of midfielders, two of their new boys -- Eamonn Fennell and centre-forward John O'Brien -- are getting good early reviews. Westmeath have three debutants in attack (Anthony Clinton, Michael Greene and Paul Bannon) and will curse getting this one for starters.

Last year: Did not meet.

Ladbrokes betting: Dublin 1/7, Westmeath 11/2, draw 12/1.

Verdict: Dublin.



Division 3

Down v Sligo, Newry

D Coldrick (Meath)

Benny Coulter is on the bench, six of Down's starters weren't on the panel last year, yet they recently won their first McKenna Cup in 10 years! Connacht champs Sligo, with new boss Tommy Jordan and one debutant (Kieran Byrne), may be travelling to the Mournes at the wrong time.

Last year: Did not meet.

Ladbrokes betting: Down 3/10, Sligo 3/1, draw 9/1.

Verdict: Down.

TOMORROW

(2.30 unless stated)

Allianz NFL Division 1

Galway v Laois, Salthill, D Fahy (Longford). Live TG4.

Laois have been hit by retirements, particularly in defence, and have a debutant midfielder in Kevin Meaney. Galway have a new manager (Liam Sammon) and start without the two Joyces (Padraig suspended and Nicky injured). Laois are fed up reading previews that rate them as "relegation fodder" and won't go down without a fight.

Last year: Laois 0-8 Galway 0-7 (NFL).

Ladbrokes betting: Galway 8/15, Laois 2/1, draw 7/1.

Verdict: Draw.

Division 2

Armagh v Cavan, Crossmaglen, C Reilly (Meath).

*Full deferred showing on TG4.

All change in Armagh, where Peter McDonnell is the new boss. He's beefed up his side after an indifferent McKenna Cup, especially Ronan Clarke, back starting his first game after a cruciate injury lay-off. Donal Keoghan has Seanie Johnston back but is still without injured Dermot McCabe and Michael Lyng and suspended captain Mark McKeever and has three debutants. Midfield and home advantage will matter most.

Last year: Did not meet.

Ladbrokes betting: Armagh 4/9, Cavan 12/5, draw 7/1.

Verdict: Armagh.

Monaghan v Roscommon, Clones, M Deegan (Laois).

Last year's "team of the summer" are already fancied for promotion. They are missing Damien Freeman (right) (just back from honeymoon), but are otherwise virtually full strength and have home advantage. John Maughan has Frankie Dolan back (in the squad), but is giving youth its fling, with four (David Miley, David O'Gara, David Flynn and Conor Devanney) of their 2006 AIl-Ireland winning minors starting.

Last year: Monaghan 1-11 Roscommon 1-10 (NFL).

Ladbrokes betting: Monaghan 4/11, Roscommon 11/4, draw 8/1.

Verdict: Monaghan.

Division 3

Limerick v Louth, Gaelic Grounds, G O Conamha (Galway).

The Shannonsiders reached the McGrath Cup final and have a lot of old names back, while Louth are without two pivotal figures (Paddy Keenan and Peter McGinnitty). Their experience in the higher divisions should be a factor but we fancy a draw.

Last year: Did not meet.

Ladbrokes betting: Limerick 1/1, Louth 11/10, draw 6/1.

Verdict: Draw.

Leitrim v Fermanagh, Carrick-on-Shannon, R O'Donnell (Donegal)

New Fermanagh boss Malachy O'Rourke has not tinkered too much (Patrick Cadden only debutant), but Leitrim have been in decent form in FBD and Dessie Dolan's side, who always come out the wrong side of one-point results, deserve a break.

Last year: Did not meet.

Ladbrokes betting: Fermanagh 4/5, Leitrim 11/8, draw 6/1.

Verdict: Leitrim.

Wexford v Longford, Wexford Park, B Tyrell (Tipperary).

Longford pulled off a few notable shocks to reach the as-yet unplayed O'Byrne final. Under new boss Jason Ryan, Wexford shocked Laois first day out but Longford's "team" form and fitness should do it.

Last year: Did not meet.

Ladbrokes betting: Wexford 5/6, Longford 5/4, draw 7/1.

Verdict: Wexford.

Division 4

Wicklow v Antrim, Aughrim, T Quigley (Dublin).

A big rematch of the sides who produced that great extra-time thriller in Croke Park last summer. Even without injured Leighton Glynn (above) and Ciaran Hyland, Wicklow should win at home.

Last year: Wicklow 4-9 Antrim 1-10 (NFL); Wicklow 3-13 Antrim 1-17 (Tommy Murphy final).

Ladbrokes betting: Wicklow 4/6, Antrim 13/8, draw 13/2.

Verdict: Wicklow.

Clare v Carlow, Cusack Park,

P McGovern (Galway).

Carlow have injury problems and are definitely with Simon Rae (injured) and Mark Carpenter (suspended). Of these two new managers, Frank Doherty, whose Clare side won the McGrath Cup, looks best fixed.

Last year: Clare 0-17 Carlow 1-9 (NFL).

Ladbrokes betting: Clare 1/2, Carlow 2/1, draw 15/2.

Verdict: Clare.

Kilkenny v Tipperary, Freshford, E Craul (Wicklow).

History here. Tipp's first game without Declan Browne and the Cats' first league appearance since 1999, but that doesn't mean anyone will be kind to them.

Last year: Did not meet.

Ladbrokes betting: Tipperary 1/16, Kilkenny 8/1, draw 16/1.

Verdict: Tipperary.

Offaly v London, Tullamore,

M Daly (Mayo).

No one seems to understand why Offaly have dropped so low but with an experienced side, featuring three debutants (Brian Darby, Richard Fox and Niall Kelly), they should win here.

Last year: Offaly 2-17 London 1-9 (NFL).

Ladbrokes betting: Offaly 1/66, London 16/1, draw 40/1.

Verdict: Offaly.

Walsh Cup final

Antrim v Offaly, 1.0, Casement Park.

An unusual location for this one thanks to Antrim's great early season form, and dual star Michael Magill has noticeably opted for the hurlers for this big one, which is the first big test for new Offaly boss Joe Dooley.

Verdict: Offaly.

Kehoe Cup

Meath v Wicklow, 2.0, Navan, C Groome (Offaly).

Verdict: Wicklow

Carlow v DIT, 2.0, Carlow, A Stapleton (Laois). Verdict: DIT.

Walsh Shield semi-final

Laois v Down, 2.0, Portlaoise, D Murphy (Wexford).

Verdict: Laois.

CLIONA FOLEY


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