Wednesday 17 January 2018

GAA weekend previews

Cliona Foley, Donnchadh Boyle and Cian Tracey

(All 7.0 unless stated)


Allianz nfl Division 1

Dublin v Cork, Croke Park,

P Hughes (Armagh) *LIVE Setanta Ireland

Someone's 100pc record is going to go in this top-of-the-table clash, and Dublin won both of the sides' meetings last year.

Cork have a new manager in Brian Cuthbert who has made a raft of changes since beating Kildare, with UCC hero Conor Dorman moved to centre-back. James McCarthy makes his first appearance of the year at centre-back, which frees up Cian O'Sullivan for midfield duty.

Dublin have conceded two goals this season but also scored a pair, while Cork have yet to register one.

Last year: Dublin 1-18 Cork 2-9 (Rd 1)

Betting: Dublin 4/9, Cork 9/4, Draw 8/1

Verdict: Dublin

ALLIANZ NFL Division 2

Down v Louth, Newry, M Higgins (Fermanagh)

Down impressed last time by crossing enemy lines and pipping Armagh to stay joint second, while Louth managed to dig out a draw with 14-man Laois despite conceding two early goals.

Losing Shane Lennon to injury and Ciaran Byrne to the AFL has left the Wee men weak in attack, and winning in the Marshes is a big ask.

Last year: Did not meet

Betting: Down 4/11, Louth 11/4, Draw 15/2

Verdict: Down

Laois v Galway, Portlaoise, A Nolan (Wicklow)

Pointless Galway are under pressure already, having conceded a whopping 4-34 in two games.

Mountbellew's Joss Moore gets the full-back job in Finian Hanley's absence and Gary O'Donnell and Adrian Varley also come in.

Conor Meredith's suspension sees Colm Begley start in Laois' only change since their 14-man defeat of Louth and this is destined to be another dogfight.

Last year: Laois 1-15 Galway 0-10

Betting: Laois 4/5, Galway 5/4, Draw 15/2

Verdict: Laois

Meath v Armagh, Navan, M Deegan (Laois) *LIVE Setanta Sports 1

Meath have been in Jekyll and Hyde form, scoring 3-18 first time out but only 0-8 against Monaghan, so they're under pressure to produce something decent at home, with three of their remaining ties away.

Ciaran McKeever is the latest Armagh man to be hit by injury and Charlie Vernon is now filling for him, with Andy Mallon switching to full-back.

Paul Grimley knows Meath well as a former selector and Armagh were unlucky to lose to Down, but the Royals have enough to do the business here.

Last year: Did not meet

Betting: Meath 1/3, Armagh 3/1, Draw 15/2

Verdict: Meath

Inter-provincial SHC final

Connacht v Leinster, Croke Park, 5.0, E Hasson (Derry)

An all-Galway Connacht selection managed by Anthony Cunningham saw off reigning champions Munster last time out, with Conor Cooney hitting 11 points. Leinster had it all too easy against Ulster, running in scores almost at will as they notched eight goals.

Kilkenny's Colin Fennelly is a man in form after his heroics against Tipperary last weekend and he is set to line out here.

The fact that the Connacht players are all familiar with each other gives them a real chance against a star-studded line-up and that could prove decisive.

Betting: Connacht 5/2 Leinster 3/10 Draw 12/1

Verdict: Connacht

Fitzgibbon Cup final

Cork IT v Waterford IT, The Dub (Queens), 2.15

Cork IT ousted defending two in-a-row champions UCC and WIT got one over on Davy Fitz's Limerick IT yesterday to set up what should be a thrilling shootout this afternoon.

WIT refused to say die in their semi-final and might have that extra little bit of ammunition up front to get the job done.

Verdict: Waterford IT


Leinster SFC 'A' semi-finals

Marist College, Athlone v Good Counsel, Crettyard, 2.0

Scoring 2-3 each, Conor Marlowe and substitute Charlie McMickan inspired Marist to an emphatic 18-point win in their quarter-final triumph over Wicklow Schools.

The Athlone school will be looking for both forwards to continue that fine form against a tough Good Counsel outfit.

Good Counsel, on the other hand, had a one-point win over Knockbeg in their quarter-final. Full-forward Sean Ryan will pose Counsel's main attacking threat and if they are to see off a much-fancied Marist side, they must provide quality service to him.

Verdict: Marist College

St Pat's, Navan v Colaiste Eoin, Parnell Park, 2.0

Reigning champions St Pat's put their title on the line against Dublin's sole representative in the final four – Colaiste Eoin.

Late goals from impressive attacking duo Conn Ó Ceallacháin and Colm Ó Néill booked Colaiste Eoin's semi-final place.

Despite being favourites to retain the cup, St Pat's will face a stern test of their credentials at Parnell Park. Pat's in-form centre-forward Robert Keelaghan will be hoping to guide his school back into the final.

Verdict: St Pat's

MacRory Cup semi-final

St Patrick's Dungannon v Omagh CBS, Emyvale, 2.30

Tyrone will have representation in the MacRory final for the first time in three years as Red Hand rivals St Patrick's, Dungannon and Omagh CBS go head to head.

Both sides have reached the last four courtesy of quarter-final replay wins over Newry opposition – St Patrick's beating Abbey CBS while Omagh required extra-time to get the better of St Colman's.

St Patrick's will be hoping that their opponents will feel the effects of having played three games in a week but CBS have plenty of quality and should cope with the demands.

Verdict: Omagh CBS


(All 2.0 unless stated)

Allianz NFL Division 1

Kildare v Tyrone, Newbridge, P O'Sullivan (Kerry) *TG4 deferred

After losing to them three times last year, including the All-Ireland qualifiers, Kildare should be up for it against their bogey team.

Emmet Bolton is an injury loss but his replacement Hugh McGrillen is very experienced; Shane Connolly replaces goalkeeper Mark Donnellan in their only other change since losing to Cork.

Tyrone are strengthened with the return of Sean Cavanagh, Connor McAliskey and Ryan McKenna and have better natural forwards.

Last year: Tyrone 1-13 Kildare 0-10 (Rd 6); Tyrone 2-15 Kildare 2-11 (Div 1 semi-final)

Betting: Tyrone 4/6, Kildare 6/4, Draw 15/2

Verdict: Tyrone

Mayo v Kerry, Castlebar, C Branagan (Down) *live TG4

It's a bit early to be declaring a crisis for either side but both, like Westmeath, are winless and, after the three-week break, this is a pivotal game.

Club commitments and injuries have decimated both sides – Colm Cooper's absence leaves a particularly big vacuum for Kerry to fill in the long term.

Mayo have conceded 4-34 in two matches but, at home, this could be the game that turns it around.

Last year: Mayo 0-15 Kerry 1-6

Betting: Mayo 8/13, Kerry 13/8, Draw 15/2

Verdict: Mayo

Derry v Westmeath, Celtic Park, 2.30, Michael Duffy (Sligo)

Brian McIver's Derry are the surprise package so far, drawing with Tyrone and beating Kerry. They're strengthened with the return of Ballinderry's Ryan Bell, Aaron Devlin and Gareth McKinless.

Westmeath gave Dublin a good game last time out but Celtic Park is a tough venue and Derry's midfield is as good as there is around.

Last year: Derry 2-17 Westmeath 1-5 (Rd 7); Derry 1-18 Westmeath 0-15 (Div 2 final)

Betting: Derry 1/5, Westmeath 10/1, Draw 9/2

Verdict: Derry


Donegal v Monaghan, Letterkenny, B Cassidy (Derry)

Monaghan won when these two met in the Ulster final and this top-of-the-table clash could be the match of the day.

Both sides are unchanged since convincingly beating Galway and Meath respectively last time out and unbeaten Donegal's bench is expected to include Eamon McGee, back after suspension.

Monaghan shared the points with Down and Jack McCarron has impressed so far at full-forward but home venue and a desire for revenge may swing this.

Last year: Did not meet

Betting: Donegal 1/2, Monaghan 2/1, Draw 15/2

Verdict: Donegal


Longford v Fermanagh, Glennon Bros Pearse Park, J Henry (Mayo)

Winless Longford welcome Brian Kavanagh back into the fold after a hamstring injury kept him out of the opening two rounds.

While Longford bring their star forward back, there's still no clarity on what Seamus Quigley's situation is after he played soccer the morning of Fermanagh's win over Sligo.

His brother Sean was superb that day but home advantage could edge it for the Leinster men.

Last year: Did not meet

Betting: Longford 5/6 Fermanagh 6/5 Draw 15/2

Verdict: Longford

Roscommon v Limerick, Dr Hyde Park, N Ward (Westmeath)

Roscommon have made a bright start with two wins from two, and Colin Compton and David Keenan return for John Evans' men, though Paddy Brogan misses out.

Limerick were six-point winners over Longford last time out and have been handed a massive shot in the arm with the news that John Galvin has committed for a 16th season with the Treaty men.

However, Roscommon confidence is high and they can emerge on top.

Last year: Did not meet

Betting: Roscommon 1/2 Limerick 2/1 Draw 15/2

Verdict: Roscommon

Sligo v Offaly, Markievicz Park, N Cullen (Fermanagh)

Sligo manager Pat Flanagan is an Offaly native but he insists there will be no divided loyalties this week as the Yeats men go looking for their second win of the campaign.

They suffered a reversal against Fermanagh after finishing with 13 men, while Offaly are on the hunt for their first points of the season after two losses.

They are without the five players who considered pursuing a dual career this year, with Conor Mahon, Shane Dooley, Colin Egan, Daniel Currams and Sean Ryan all opting for hurling.

Last year: Did not meet

Betting: Sligo 1/2 Offaly 2/1 Draw 15/2

Verdict: Offaly

Wexford v Cavan, New Ross, M Collins (Cork)

Wexford are another side who have won one and lost one in a very competitive division, while Cavan saw some action during the break when they fell to Tyrone in their delayed McKenna Cup final.

That extra exposure can stand to them even if they are without a key player in Eugene Keating, who is out with a hamstring injury picked up while on duty with Ulster.

Last year: Did not meet

Betting: Wexford 6/4 Cavan 4/6 Draw 15/2

Verdict: Cavan


Antrim v Waterford, Creggan, S McLaughlin (Donegal)

Antrim remain winless, having let Wicklow off the hook last time out when CJ McGourty missed a penalty.

Waterford have taken just a point from their two outings, with manager Niall Carew targeting a total of "eight or nine" points for promotion, so they'll be eager to take something away from Belfast.

Last year: Did not meet

Betting: Antrim 4/11 Waterford 11/4 Draw 15/2

Verdict: Antrim

Clare v Wicklow, Cusack Park, S Joy (Kerry)

Clare saw off London in convincing fashion last time to move to the top of the table after three games, with Podge Collins continuing to combine his hurling and football commitments.

Wicklow boast a 100pc record from two outings, making this a significant fixture in the race for promotion.

Last year: Did not meet

Betting: Clare 4/5 Wicklow 5/4 Draw 15/2

Verdict: Clare

Leitrim v Carlow, Carrick-on-Shannon, J Molloy (Galway)

Brendan Murphy is a big loss for a Carlow side who suffered a heavy reversal at the hands of Tipp in the first round.

After winning the FBD league, Leitrim have continued their good form and remain unbeaten, but they are without Tomas Beirne for the foreseeable future after he was injured in a road accident.

Last year: Leitrim 1-16 Carlow 0-12 (Rd 3)

Betting: Leitrim 1/4 Carlow 7/2 Draw 9/1

Verdict: Leitrim

London v Tipperary, Ruislip, F Barry (Kildare)

After their defeat to Clare, London manager Paul Coggins revealed that his side had trained on a pitch just once since Christmas.

The Exiles' struggles are obvious. Tipp have made four changes for the trip to London, with Michael Quinlivan among those to make way, but they should still be too strong.

Last year: Tipperary 2-12 London 1-8 (Rd 3)

Betting: London 11/2 Tipperary 1/8 Draw 12/1

Verdict: Tipperary


Derry v London, Celtic Park, 12.30, O Elliott (Antrim). Verdict: Derry


Fermanagh v Louth, Lisbellaw, C Cunning (Antrim). Verdict: Fermanagh


Warwickshire v Tyrone, Pairc na hEireann, 1.0, G Quilty (Kilkenny). Verdict: Tyrone


Connacht PP Schools SH 'A' John Ryan Cup Final

Presentation College, Athenry v St Brigid's Loughrea, Kenny Park, Athenry, 3.0, J Keane

Holders St Brigid's face tough opposition in Presentation Athenry, after both sides recorded comfortable semi-final wins. Brian Burke will be Athenry's main threat as they look to win their first title since 2011, but St Brigid's should get the job done.

Verdict: St Brigid's Loughrea

Connacht PP Schools SH 'B' Keith Hayes Cup Final

St Mary's College, Galway v Garbally College, Ballinasloe, Kenny Park, Athenry, 1.30, M Haverty

Verdict: Garbally College


All-Ireland Senior

Club Final

Milford v Ardrahan, Croke Park, 3.15, A Lagrue (Kildare)

Milford, looking to secure back-to-back titles, overcame Derry outfit Eoghan Rua in the semi-final to book their place. Ardrahan have come through a tough Galway county championship and boast some talented players. Milford, though, may prove a step too far.

Verdict: Milford

Ballyhale Shamrocks v Lismore, 1.15, C Egan (Cork)

Backboned by the Fennelly clan, Ballyhale Shamrocks come to Croke Park quietly confident after a tough path to the final. Lismore defeated Liatroim Fontenoys in the semi-final and will present a serious threat to Ballyhale's title aspirations, though.

Verdict: Lismore

ladies football

(All 2.0 unless stated)


Kerry v Cork, Pairc an Aghasaigh, K Delahunty. Verdict: Kerry

Tyrone v Monaghan, Killeeshil, E O'Hare. Verdict: Monaghan

Donegal v Dublin, Donegal, G Chapman. Verdict: Dublin

Mayo v Laois, Ballyheane, PJ Rabbitte. Verdict: Mayo


Westmeath v Meath, St Loman's Mullingar, Y Duffy. Verdict: Meath

Cavan v Down, Breffni Park, G Carmody. Verdict: Cavan

Clare v Galway, Clare, J Mullins. Verdict: Clare

Fermanagh v Kildare, Kinawley, J Niland. Verdict: Fermanagh


Longford v Waterford, Ardagh, P Fahy. Verdict: Longford

Tipperary v Sligo, Ned Hall Park, S Mulvihill. Verdict: Tipperary

Wexford v Leitrim, Clonee, J Murphy. Verdict: Leitrim

Armagh v Offaly, Abbey Grammar School, P Swift. Verdict: Armagh

national league DIVISION 4

Derry v Limerick, Watty Graham Park, 12.0, B McCallion. Verdict: Limerick

Louth v Wicklow, O'Connells, C Dourneen. Verdict: Louth

Roscommon v Antrim, Strokestown, K Corcoran. Verdict: Antrim

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