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Weekend's GAA previews

TODAY : Allianz NFL Division 1

Armagh v Dublin, Athletic Grounds, 7.30, J McQuillan (Cavan), Live Setanta Ireland

Armagh should up the ante from their McKenna Cup form for the opening of their new stadium and expect to welcome back Kieran McKeever, but Dublin had a good run-out against old rivals Meath last weekend and are a little further ahead.

Odds: Armagh 6/4 Dublin 4/6 Draw 15/2

Verdict: Dublin

Mayo v Down, McHale Park. 7.30, C Reilly (Meath), Live Setanta Sports 1

The lights will finally be switched on in Castlebar and Mayo boss James Horan names three debutants for the visit of Down. Horan's Ballintubber -- whom he guided to a county title - were difficult to break down so expect more of the same from Mayo, who were in good form in the FBD league.

Odds: Mayo 4/7 Down 7/4 Draw 15/2

Verdict: Mayo

Allianz NFL Division 2

Laois v Meath, Portlaoise, 7.30,

P Fox (Westmeath)

These sides met only a fortnight ago, with Meath coming out on top in the O'Byrne Shield. Meath since had an ideal warm-up with an extra-time belter against Dublin, when 17 wides proved their undoing. Any natural improvement from that showing should be enough.

Odds: Laois 5/4 Meath 4/5 Draw 15/2

Verdict: Meath

Donegal v Sligo, Ballybofey, 7.30, P Hughes (Armagh)

Neil McGee's red card has been rescinded, but Donegal's preparations have been severely hampered by illness. Sligo have performed well in the league in recent seasons, winning successive promotions. On that basis, the Yeats men might be the bet of the weekend at 15/8.

Odds: Donegal 8/15 Sligo 15/8 Draw 15/2

Verdict: Sligo

Waterford Crystal

Cup final(SH)

Cork v Waterford, Pairc Ui Rinn, 2.0,

Cork have been in impressive form in this competition and on the challenge game circuit, but they are still largely experim-ental. The Deise welcomed Ken McGrath and Tony Browne back to training this week, but Eoin McGrath is injured.

Odds: Cork 13/8 Waterford 8/15 Draw 9/1

Verdict: Waterford

Walsh Shield final (SH)

Carlow v Offaly, Dr Cullen Park, 2.30

Offaly are too strong.

Verdict: Offaly

Tomorrow (2.30 unless stated)

Allianz NFL Division 1

Monaghan v Galway, Inniskeen,

M Deegan (Laois)

Injury-riddled Monaghan face a difficult couple of weeks as 11 of the side that started last year's Ulster final are unavailable. Galway are without Padraic Joyce and Michael Meehan but, with Monaghan so stretched, they should prevail.

Odds: Monaghan 6/4 Galway 4/6 Draw 15/2

Verdict: Galway

Kerry v Cork, Tralee, Michael Duffy (Sligo), Live TG4

The recent McGrath Cup meeting can be dismissed as shadow boxing, with both sides expected to name much more familiar line-ups. It's a measure of Cork's improvement that they go to Tralee as favourites and that won't sit well with Kerry.

Odds: Kerry 5/4 Cork 5/6 Draw 7/1

Verdict: Kerry

Allianz NFL Division 2

Antrim v Kildare, Casement Park, M Higgins (Fermanagh)

They needed a replay to separate them last time around in the championship, but Kildare have won with shadow teams this year and have shown an ability to press home final-quarter advantages.

Odds: Antrim 13/8 Kildare 8/13 Draw 15/2

Verdict: Kildare

Derry v Tyrone, Celtic Park,

Marty Duffy (Sligo)

Derry are the form team in the country after their McKenna Cup streak, but Tyrone enjoy nothing more than halting their momentum and the Oak Leafers will have to bring their form into the league before John Brennan's men can be truly appraised.

Odds: Derry 5/4 Tyrone 5/6 Draw 7/1

Verdict: Tyrone

Allianz NFL Division 3

Offaly v Cavan, Tullamore,

E Kinsella (Laois)

Cavan have had a decent start to the season, but Offaly showed steady improvement in last year's championship and could be in the shake-up for promotion.

Odds: Offaly 8/13 Cavan 6/4 Draw 15/2

Verdict: Offaly

Wexford v Waterford, Wexford Park, G McCormack (Dublin)

Waterford are out of the lowest division and although Wexford haven't shone so far, they should still be too strong.

Odds: Wexford 4/7 Waterford 13/8 Draw 15/2

Verdict: Wexford

Louth v Westmeath, Drogheda,

P McEnaney (Monaghan)

Louth will be asking themselves how they didn't win the O'Byrne Cup final when they conceded two late goals to Kildare, but they seem to be coping without the likes of Brian White this year. Westmeath haven't won a league game since the 2008 Division 2 final and while they'll rectify that this year, Drogheda looks too tough to breach.

Odds: Louth 4/6 Westmeath 11/8 Draw 8/1

Verdict: Louth

Tipperary v Limerick, Semple Stadium, S Doyle (Wexford)

Limerick have named a near full- strength team for the trip to Semple, including Stephen Lucey, Ger Collins and Johnny McCarthy, though last year's captain Robbie Costigan has emigrated.

Odds: Tipperary evens Limerick evens Draw 7/1

Verdict: Limerick

Allianz NFL Division 4

London v Kilkenny, Ruislip,

B O'Shea (Dublin)

Kilkenny's best chance of a victory all season, but London are improving due to the economic situation.

Odds: London 1/50 Kilkenny 12/1 Draw 22/1

Verdict: London

Leitrim v Clare, Carrick-on-Shannon, S McLaughlin (Donegal)

Clare weren't shy about recruiting under the parentage rule, while Leitrim shipped a heavy defeat to Mayo last time out.

Odds: Leitrim 6/4 Clare 4/6 Draw 7/1

Verdict: Clare

Longford v Roscommon, Pearse Park, J Henry (Mayo)

Donal Shine's absence through injury is a blow for the Connacht champions and Longford are a difficult proposition at home.

Odds: Longford 5/6 Roscommon 6/5 Draw 7/1

Verdict: Roscommon

Carlow v Wicklow, Dr Cullen Park, F Kelly (Longford)

Positives reports from Wicklow, while it's hard to know what Carlow can take from defeat to UCD earlier this year.

Odds: Carlow 7/4 Wicklow 8/15 Draw 15/2

Verdict: Wicklow

Walsh Cup final(sh)

(Extra-time if necessary)

Dublin v Kilkenny, Parnell

Park, 2.0

Hope springs eternal in Dublin with new acquisitions Ryan O'Dwyer and Conal Keaney making immediate impacts. However, the regular Kilkenny faces have started to re-emerge and normal service was resumed against Laois last weekend.

Odds: Dublin 11/4 Kilkenny 2/7 draw 11/1

Verdict: Kilkenny

Kehoe Cup final (sh)

Wicklow v Meath, Rathdrum. Verdict: Meath


Leinster Cols SF 'a'

quarter-finals (2.0)

St Pat's Navan v St. Peter's Wexford, Eire Og.

Verdict: St Pat's, Navan.

Col Eoin v Moate CS, UCD.

Verdict: Col Eoin.

All-Ireland VS semi-finals

Cork v Kilkenny, Mallow, 2.30. Verdict: Cork.

Tipperary v Galway, Nenagh, 2.0 Verdict: Tipperary.

MacRory Cup uLSTER (sf)

St Macartan's Monaghan v St Michael's Enniskillen, Dunmoyle, 12.0.

Verdict St Macartan's.

St Patrick's Academy Dungannon v St Patrick's Armagh, Maghery, 2.30.

Verdict: St Patrick's Academy.

Leinster VS SH semi-final

Banagher Col v Borris VS, Portlaoise, 12.0.

Verdict: Banagher

Leinster Vs SF Final

Wicklow v Meath, Roundwood, 2.0. Verdict: Wicklow.

ladies football

Bord Gáis Energy NFL

(2.0 unless stated otherwise)

Division 1

Donegal v Galway, Bundoran. Verdict: Galway

Laois v Kildare, Park-Ratheniska. Verdict: Laois

Cork v Mayo, Mallow.

Verdict: Cork

Monaghan v Tyrone, Emyvale. Verdict: Tyrone

Division 2

Dublin v Armagh, Fingallians, 12.0. Verdict: Dublin

Sligo v Cavan, Coola Shamrocks Gaels.

Verdict: Sligo

Waterford v Meath, Walsh Park. Verdict: Waterford

Kerry v Tipperary, Beaufort, 12.30. Verdict: Kerry

Division 3

Clare v Down, Cooraclare, 2.0. Verdict: Clare

Limerick v Fermangh -- Postponed.

Leitrim v Wexford, Ballinamore. Verdict: Wexford

Longford v Wicklow, Leo Casey Park. Verdict: Wicklow

Division 4

Roscommon v Louth, Kiltoom. Verdict: Roscommon

Carlow v Offaly, Tinryland.

Verdict: Offaly

Derry v Antrim, Faughanvale. Verdict: Antrim

Kilkenny v Westmeath, Urlingford. Verdict: Westmeath


All-Ireland senior

club semi-finals

Inniscarrra (Cork) v O'Donovan Rossa (Antrim), Newbridge, 2.30, Fintan McNamara (Clare)

Verdict: O'Donovan Rossa

Killimor (Galway) v Oulart -the Ballagh (Wexford), Ballinasloe, 3.0, Karl O'Brien (Dublin)

Verdict: Oulart

All-Ireland intermediate

club semi-finals

Lismore v Eoghan Rua, Donagh-more-Ashbourne, 2.0 , Owen Elliott (Antrim)

Verdict: Lismore

Sarsfields v The Harps, Ballina-sloe, 1.0, Mike O'Kelly (Cork)

Verdict: Sarsfields


Dr Harty Semi-finals (SH)

St Flannan's Ennis v Ardscoil Rís Limerick, Gaelic Grounds, 2.0.

Verdict: St Flannan's.

Charleville CBS v Our Lady's Templemore, Gaelic Grounds, 3.30. Verdict: Charleville CBS.


Irish Independent