Tuesday 24 October 2017

Today's Allianz league games

Damian Lawlor

ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE (2.30 unless stated) Division 1Monaghan v MayoInniskeen

If this was a straight shoot-out, you'd pick Mayo without hesitation but Monaghan desperately need two points. Even if they do win, however, the head to head leaves Eamonn McEneaney's men in a perilous state. Mayo, meanwhile, are developing more character and are benefiting from the partnership of Alan Freeman and Jason Doherty. With the squad being cut next weekend, fringe players will want to impress and this is bad news for the home side.

Verdict: Mayo

Kerry v Down


A cruciate injury for David Moran, a hammering for the under 21s and a spat with a local newspaper -- it's been a really horrible seven days in the Kingdom. But Kerry are still in contention for the Division 1 final. Kerry, with Declan O'Sullivan (pictured) in top form, are looking more fluid and had five different scorers by the interval against Monaghan last weekend. In contrast, Down will be gutted after a last-gasp slip to Dublin and may find it hard to bounce back. They couldn't cope with Dublin's defence and might struggle to break Kerry's today.

Verdict: Kerry

Galway v Dublin

Pearse Stadium

No surprise that Galway's first win of the season coincided with the return of the brilliant Pádraic Joyce but they need another win today and must also hope that Armagh slip up in Cork. Even with their final place already secured and Pat Gilroy giving some of his fringe players an outing, easing off the throttle looks unlikely. The pressure is on Galway but they could pull off the escape of the year.

Verdict: Galway

Cork v Armagh

Páirc Uí Chaoimh

Cork need two points to guarantee their final spot. They conceded 1-4 just after the interval last weekend so must ensure there are no more lapses in concentration. Armagh, boosted by a heavy Crossmaglen presence, may yet rue their defeat to Galway if their Division 1 status is decided on the head to head with the Tribesmen this evening.

Verdict: Cork

Division 2

Antrim v Derry

Casement Park

Injury-ravaged Antrim need the points to help avoid a drop while Derry need a win to gain promotion. It means this encounter will have a championship-like intensity. Antrim, whose poor scoring difference could go against them, were well beaten by Donegal and even with Paddy Cunningham back, they'll struggle against Derry, especially at midfield. The spirit is good in the visiting camp with Kevin McCloy and Barry McGoldrick playing through the pain barrier and even if they're reliant on Conleth Gilligan, an away win is on the cards.

Verdict: Derry

Laois v Donegal


Although they've recorded four wins, we're tempted to ask which Laois side will turn up today. They turned in some scintillating displays early in the league before losing back to back games, only to reverse fortunes against Sligo last Sunday. A win or draw for the Colm McFadden (pictured) inspired Donegal sees them into the top flight. Even if they suffer a narrow loss they should be fine, as they have a better scoring difference than Laois and Tyrone.

Verdict: Donegal

Kildare v Sligo


Expect a serious reaction from Kildare after the miserable showing against Tyrone when they only scored 0-2 from play, prompting Kieran McGeeney to label his forwards' performance as "pathetic". But the word is Kildare are training like demons at the moment so the manager can't have it both ways. His team simply has to win to have any chance of joining pacesetters Donegal and Laois in the promotion frame.

Verdict: Kildare

Meath v Tyrone

Páirc Tailteann

It's looking bleak for Meath. A win could yet save them but what a desperately disappointing campaign it has been for the Royals. Tyrone are finding their feet again and that spells trouble.

Verdict: Tyrone

Division 3

Westmeath v Offaly


This is a winner-takes-all fixture. Offaly native and Westmeath manager Pat Flanagan has done a fine job in Westmeath after they'd lost 15 league games on the trot, 14 before his tenure. Offaly have a marginally better scoring difference but are prone to wides. Backed with the presence of seven under 21s and Dessie Dolan, Westmeath should prevail against a side that made hard work of beating Waterford.

Verdict: Westmeath

Waterford v Louth


Waterford must win to avoid a quick return to Division 4. Away from home they have struggled, but in Dungarvan this will be a really tight affair. Last weekend, they led Offaly by six points but blew it. The likes of Patrick Hurney and Tom Prendergast are direct forwards who will cause trouble for Louth, but experience could see them through.

Verdict: Louth

Limerick v Wexford


Newcastlewest will not extend a warm welcome to Wexford with Limerick fighting for their survival. But Jason Ryan's men want to quickly get back to Division 2. Under 21 stars Liam óg McGovern, Conor McCarthy and Kevin O'Grady are all back in the ranks following their midweek heroics but it's to Ciarán Lyng and Ben Brosnan that they will look for inspiration. After back-to-back wins over Cavan and Louth, Limerick regressed in losing to 12-man Westmeath. Can they sort themselves out? They're struggling for scores from play so it's unlikely.

Verdict: Wexford

Cavan v Tipperary

Kingspan Breffni Park

A win for Cavan, who have favoured long, direct ball lately, and they're safe while Tipperary could either be promoted or relegated via points difference. Tipp have been unlucky to lose three league games. Their confidence is returning after hitting 0-17 against Wexford and they will have no fear of playing Cavan, who are bolstered by the availabiity from the start of Seanie Johnston, Nesty Smith and Michael Lyng. Verdict: Tipperary

Division 4

Roscommon v Leitrim

Hyde Park

Already promoted, Roscommon's mind is now on their Connacht championship clash with New York in May but they'd surely like to win Division 4 in style.

Verdict: Roscommon

Wicklow v Clare


Wicklow, who have only lost one game thus far, badly need the points and should do the job here.

Verdict: Wicklow

Longford v Carlow

Pearse Park

So much at stake here for Longford following a heart-breaking Leinster under 21 final defeat. But this is some late push by Carlow. They're hunting a fifth straight win and with so many of the team enjoying good form, you couldn't rule it out. Longford have made hard work of Division 4 and may need Paul Barden to lift their spirits again.

Verdict: Longford

Fermanagh v London

Enniskillen, 1.0

With 11 players unavailable, Fermanagh to win but only paper over the cracks.

Verdict: Fermanagh


Division 3B

Monaghan v Mayo


Unbeaten Mayo to inflict more misery on struggling Monaghan.

Verdict: Mayo

Sligo v Donegal

Markievicz Park

Donegal were recently hammered by Louth and confidence will be low.

Verdict: Sligo

Roscommon v Louth


Shane Callan is excelling for prolific Louth and two points are crucial here.

Verdict: Louth

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