Friday 6 December 2019

Weekend previews


ALL-IRELAND SFC QUALIFIERS RD 3 (Extra-time if necessary)

Tyrone v Armagh, Omagh,

7.0, Marty Duffy (Sligo)

A few short years ago, an Ulster final meeting between these two had them hanging out of the rafters at Croke Park. These are different times with question marks hanging over the age profile of this Tyrone team and Armagh still looking to find their rhythm after a promising win over Down first time out. The Orchard's Jamie Clarke is unlikely to enjoy the same freedom against Tyrone as he did in Aughrim, while Tyrone's young guns, like Peter Harte and Mark Donnelly, have taken over the scoring responsibility, meaning there's another kick in Mickey Harte's side yet.

Last championship meeting: 2009 Ulster quarter-final: Tyrone 2-10 Armagh 1-10

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

Verdict: Tyrone

TYRONE-- P McConnell; M Swift, Joe McMahon, R McMenamin; Sean O'Neill,C Gormley, P Jordan; K Hughes, S Cavanagh; C Cavanagh, B McGuigan, PHarte; T McGuigan, M Donnelly, K Coney.

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(Extra-time if necessary)

Wexford v Limerick, Portlaoise,

7.0, D Fahy (Longford)

A return to the form of the early part of their Leinster campaign should see Jason Ryan's Wexford come out on top, despite the fact that Limerick won out when the sides met in the league earlier this year. Limerick and Maurice Horan have excelled through the back door, but Wexford proved they could live with a side like Dublin for long periods before Lady Luck deserted them in the Leinster final.

Last championship meeting: Have not met.

Odds: Wexford 1/2 Limerick 2/1 Draw 15/2

Verdict: Wexford

LIMERICK -- B Scanlon; T Stack, S Gallagher, S Lavin; J Riordan, J McCarthy, P Ranahan; S Buckley, T Lee; S Kelly, J Mullane, M Sheehan; G Collins, S O'Carroll, I Ryan.

WEXFORD -- A Masterson; J Wadding, G Molloy, B Malone; A Flynn, D Murphy, A Doyle; D Waters, R Quinlivan; PJ Banville, C Lyng, B Brosnan; C Morris, E Bradley, R Barry.

Cork v Down, Croke Park, 6.0,

Michael Duffy (Sligo). *LIVE TV3

Cork mixed the good with the bad in the Munster final against Kerry and while Ciaran Sheehan is a loss, the Rebels are more than capable of compensating for his absence. Down haven't found the form of last year and needed a late show to get by Antrim, but as they proved last year when beating Kerry in the last eight, they are capable of one big performance, particularly in Croke Park. However, the Rebel's management team are meticulous in their preparation and are unlikely to be caught here.

Last championship meeting: 2010 All Ireland final: Cork 0-16 Down 0-15

Odds: Cork 4/9 Down 9/4 Draw 15/2

Verdict: Cork

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

Cork -- A Quirke; J O'Sullivan, G Canty, M Shields; N O'Leary, J Miskella, P Kissane; A O'Connor, A Walsh; F Goold, P Kelly, P O'Neill; D Goulding, D O'Connor, P Kerrigan.

Derry v Kildare, Croke Park,

4.0, S Doyle (Wexford)

Of the 12 sides who have tried, just one has managed to win in the qualifiers six days after a provincial final loss and whether Derry can repeat the heroics of Dublin in 2001 remains to be seen. Kildare and Kieran McGeeney had the ideal preparation last week as they only saw Meath off in the last five minutes after a stern examination. The collapse of last year when the sides met in Celtic Park is unlikely to happen on John Brennan's watch, but minus Eoin and Paddy Bradley, Derry's attack looked blunt in the Ulster final and in the more familiar surrounds of Croke Park, Kildare could run out quite comfortable winners.

Last championship meeting: 2010 Round Three Qualifier: Kildare 2-17 Derry 1-9

Odds: Kildare 1/4 Derry 7/2 Draw 10/1

Verdict: Kildare

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

All- Ireland MHC q/f

(Extra-time if necessary)

Antrim v Galway, Parnell Park,

3.0, S Whelan (Wexford)

A first outing of the year for Mattie Murphy's Galway against an Antrim side that ran up 4-17 in their facile Ulster final win over Derry. Galway were dumped out at the semi-final stage by eventual champions Clare last year and will be out to make amends.

Odds: Antrim 10/1 Galway 1/66 Draw 20/1

Verdict: Galway

Waterford v Kilkenny, Walsh Park,

7.0, C Lyons (Cork)

Kilkenny resident and former James Stephens player Liam O'Connor leads Waterford against the vanquished Leinster finalists. The Deise recorded a notable win over a fancied Tipperary in the Munster semi-final before losing to Clare. Kilkenny failed to show up against Dublin in the Leinster final, but with players of the calibre of Thomas O'Hanrahan, they can get their season back on track.

Odds: Waterford 10/11 Kilkenny 1/1 Draw 9/1

Verdict: Kilkenny

TG4 Senior ladies

Championship -- Rd 1 Qualifier

(Extra-time if necessary)

Armagh v Sligo, Pearse Park, Longford, 3.30, G Corrigan.

Armagh and Sligo have struggled so far this season. If Sligo can limit Caroline O'Hanlon's influence they have a chance but with neither side firing on all cylinders, it may well come down to which team digs deepest on the day.

Verdict: Armagh

Armagh -- C McAlinden; S McCoy, A Donaldson, C McCann; R O'Reilly, L Brown, S McCleary; M Moriarty, C Malone; M Luckie, C O'Hanlon, L Knox; M O'Donnell, K Mallon, M McAlinden.

Sligo -- K Connolly; E Codd, R Monaghan, A Ewing; A M Coleman, J Mulligan, A Horgan; B Byrne, S O'Sullivan; K Maloney, N Fowley, S McTiernan; L Gillespie, S Scully, N Gormley.

Dublin v Kildare, Pearse Park, (Longford), 5.15, E O'Hare (Down). *LIVE TG4

All-Ireland Champions Dublin will be hoping to get their season back on track following their one-point loss to Meath in the Leinster semi-final, and if they can get enough quality ball in to Sinead Aherne they should advance to the next round.

Verdict: Dublin

Dublin -- C O'Connor; S Goldrick, J O'Sullivan, G O'Malley; G Fay, S Furlong, S McGrath; D Materson, N McEvoy; M Nevin, E Kelly, L Peat; N Healy, S Aherne, A Ring.

Kildare -- E Kelly; P Delahunt, A Savage, D Tierney; K Leahy, A Holton, D Barry; B Leahy, J Timmins; T Noone, M Moolick, N Earley; S Cannon, D Gately, A Gately.

TG4 Intermediate Ladies Championship Rd 2 Group B

Fermanagh v Westmeath, Brewster Park, 2.0, L McDonagh

senior Camogie championship

Tipperary v Galway, The Ragg, 1.0

M O'Kelly (Cork)

With a semi-final looming, Noel Finn won't want his side to rest on their laurels as places are up for grabs. An excellent encounter is in store with Galway to shade it.

Verdict: Galway

Dublin v Wexford, Naomh Mearnog, 3.0

F McNamara (Clare)

Denis Murphy's youthful side face an enormous task against reigning champions Wexford in the final round. Dublin will be bolstered by home venue, but a difficult assignment awaits them against a stronger and more cohesive outfit.

Verdict: Wexford

Kilkenny v Cork, Jenkinstown, 3.0,

A Lagrue (Kildare)

With both sides safely through to the semi-finals, neither management side will want to give too much away in advance of their semi-final draw. Cork, following last week's lethargic display against Tipp, will want to finish the round robin series with a flourish.

Verdict: Cork

Offaly v Clare, St Brendan's Park, Birr, 3.0, K O'Brien (Dublin)

Both will want to finish the season on a winning note. Clare's guile and experience, however, should prove too much.

Verdict: Clare

All-Ireland SH quarter-finals

Dublin v Limerick, Thurles, 2.0

B Gavin (Offaly). *Live TV3

Limerick were devastated after being beaten by a last-minute Waterford goal from John Mullane in the Munster semi-final, but it may actually have been in their best long-term interests.

How would they have coped with the ferocity of the gale whipped up by Tipperary in the final? Could they now find themselves facing up to Galway after taking a heavy beating, instead of taking on Dublin after winning two qualifier games?

This year was all about a steady build-up of momentum for Limerick and they have achieved that carefully and constructively. Now, they are ready for their attempt to take it on to the next level against the most improved side in the country this year.

It's a fascinating match-up, not least because while Dublin are odds-on to reach the All-Ireland semi-final, they have never beaten Limerick in the championship. Nor have they enjoyed much success against Cork either, so Donal O'Grady will impress on the Limerick players that the entire package is more substantially based, certainly from a historical perspective, than anything Dublin can offer.

Still, nobody can dispute the solidity that Dublin have brought to their game this year with the exception of the Leinster final when they were hit by Kilkenny's post-League final backlash.

At their best, Dublin are a more rounded side than Limerick, but they must now learn to cope with the pressure of being favourites, which is an additional challenge.

Also, they must have a viable Plan B if their running game doesn't work. Paul Ryan's accuracy from frees has been central to Dublin's strike rate, so expect Limerick to be extremely disciplined. And with Conal Keaney missing from the Dublin attack, this is a great opportunity for Limerick.

2011 championship: Dublin 2-21 Offaly 1-20; Dublin 0-19 Galway 2-7; Kilkenny 4-17 Dublin 1-15. Waterford 3-15 Limerick 3-14; Limerick 1-22 Wexford 2-13; Limerick 3-22 Antrim 0-12.

Last championship clash: Limerick 2-18 Dublin 1-17 (2009 All-Ireland quarter-final)

Odds: Dublin 8/15; Limerick 7/4; Draw 10/1.

Verdict: Limerick

Limerick -- N Quaid; D Moloney, S Hickey, T Condon; W McNamara, B Geary, G O'Mahony; D O'Grady, P Browne; N Moran, J Ryan, D Hannon; G Mulcahy, K Downes, S Tobin.

Galway v Waterford, Thurles, 4.0

C McAllister (Cork). *Live RTE

Happier times in Galway, who send an unchanged team in pursuit of a place in the All-Ireland semi-final for the first time since 2005.

The difference between the Galway side that fumbled its way to a comprehensive defeat by Dublin five weeks ago and the confident outfit which hit Clare and Cork for a combined total of 6-48 is as marked as it possibly could be -- indeed, there are similarities between Galway's revival in the qualifiers this year and Tipperary's resurgence last season.

Now, the big question is whether Galway can continue to power up to the required level to make them serious All-Ireland contenders. The basics certainly appear right. The defence has tightened up on security; midfielders David Burke and Andy Smith have brought stability to the sector while the attack appears to be finally living up to its potential.

All plain sailing for Galway then? Not quite. Waterford have had two weeks to recover from the Munster final nightmare and will have done so to a degree that makes them real dangerous. Galway need no reminding of Waterford's capacity to re-invent themselves after losing a big game. They also know that history is very much in Waterford's favour as they have never lost a championship game to Galway.

To dismiss that as irrelevant is to miss the point. Presumably, there's something about Waterford's style that bothers Galway who, two years ago, had a six-point second-half lead whittled away. And, as late as last April, Waterford intervened in Galway's plans to book a league final place by beating them in Walsh Park.

Still, this is a glorious chance for Galway to end their barren championship run against Waterford. They momentum is very much with them and if they can get into their stride early on, they may set Waterford an unreachable target.

2011 championship: Galway 4-17 Westmeath 2-14; Dublin 0-19 Galway 2-7; Galway 4-25 Clare 0-20; Galway 2-23 Cork 1-14. Waterford 3-15 Limerick 3-14; Tipperary 7-19 Waterford 0-19.

Last championship clash: Waterford 1-16 Galway 0-18 (2009 All-Ireland quarter-final)

Odds: Galway 4/11; Waterford 5/2; Draw 10/1

Verdict: Galway

Galway -- J Skehill; F Moore, S Kavanagh, D Collins; D Barry, T Og Regan, A Cullinane; D Burke, A Smith; J Gantley, G Farragher, I Tannian; D Hayes, J Canning, A Kerins.

TG4 Senior ladies

Championship -- Rd 1 Qualifier

(Extra-time if necessary)

Down v Donegal, Clones, 3.0,

S McIntyre (Tyrone)

Donegal have been making huge strides of late. Down crashed out of last season's championship at this stage, and unless they can radically improve, a similar fate awaits them this year.

Verdict: Donegal

Down -- K Magee; C Higgins, C Moane, E Mulhern; K Boden, C Magee, O Quinn; S Venny, C Fitzpatrick; G Mc Clean, K Trainor, P Moane; N Ferris, S Ennis, S Kelly.

Donegal -- R McCafferty; K Keeney, K Herrin, T McCafferty; G Houston, C Hegarty, K Wilson; A Mc Donnell, K Guthrie; R Friel, N Hegarty, E Gallagher; G McLaughlin, Y McMonagle, N McLaughlin.

TG4 Intermediate Ladies Championship Rd 2

Group B: Waterford v Longford, St Mollerans, 2.30pm, K Delahunty

TG4 Junior Ladies

Championship Rd 1

Group A: Derry v Wexford, Ballinascreen, 1.0, K McShea; Wicklow v Offaly, Eire Óg, Greystones, 3.0, T Lennon

TG4 Junior Ladies

Championship Rd 1

Group B: Carlow v Kilkenny, Tinryland, 6.0, J Flood

Aisling McGing Memorial Championship Rd 3

Galway v Cork, Craughwell, 1.30,

G Carmody; Kerry v Dublin, Rathmore, 2.30, J Mullins; Mayo v Meath, Breaffy, 4.0, P Fahy

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