John Fogarty previews the weekend’s GAA fixtures.
Allianz Football League, Round 1
Donegal v Mayo, MacCumhaill Park, 7.15pm (D. Coldrick, Meath) Live Eir Sports
It was this clash at the end of the 2018 campaign that ended in a draw and saw Donegal drop to Division 2. Other than the defeat to Tyrone later that year, the home team’s record in Ballybofey is outstanding and neither team will get too worked up about not coming out on top as new faces are auditioned. Still, Donegal’s pride is always greater at this venue.
Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, 7.15pm (S. Hurson, Tyrone) Live Eir Sports, RTÉ
Dublin may be lacking preparation for this but there will be a lot of players willl be keen to make an impression on Dessie Farrell and the All-Ireland champions have shown several times before that their competitive juices can sustain them in early league gameswhen a lack of training sessions do not. Farrell won’t be expecting fireworks here, but Dublin carry a mantle all the same and he won’t want that tarnished too much. Kerry have themselves been away but there should still be enough fire in the well stoked from last September to see them over the line.
Armagh v Cavan, Athletic Grounds, 7pm (B. Cassidy, Derry)
Perhaps Armagh should be commended for retaining so many of their 2019 panel when all around them seem to be losing personnel. It’s a huge year for the Kieran McGeeney reign and they candispose of a weakened Cavan side to get things going.
Derry v Leitrim, Celtic Park, 5pm (N. Mooney, Cavan)
Now that the stag is out of the way, Leitrim won’t be near as bad as they were against Roscommon earlier this month. All the same, they won’t beat their fellow promoted side from Division 4.
Cork v Offaly, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 6pm (D. O’Mahoney, Tipperary)
Mark Collins has pointed out how Cork have failed to get off on the right foot in the league and there have been few years where winning home games have been more important. Although Brian Hurley is an obvious loss, the surprise element in the Cork attack should stand to them.
Carlow v Wicklow, Netwatch Cullen Park, 7pm (B. Cawley, Kildare)
Too early for the new Wicklow management to make their mark. Carlow’s savviness should earn them the two points.
Waterford v Limerick, Fraher Field, 7pm (J. Bermingham, Cork)
There is a lot of momentum being brought by Limerick to Dungarvan and it will be tough for Waterford to withstand it.
Allianz Hurling League, Round 1
Division 1, Group 1
Tipperary v Limerick, Semple Stadium, 5.15pm (P. Murphy, Carlow) Live Eir Sports
Had John Kiely a choice, he would probably have selected a slightly more experimental side, but then he has been consistent in allowing Fitzgibbon Cup players to concentrate on their college games for the duration of the competition. Tipperary are down a handful of their All-Ireland starters and this campaign might be a slower burner for them than their neighbours who looked sharp in the pre-season competition.
Division 1, Group 2
Laois v Wexford, MW Hire O’Moore Park, 7pm (F. Horgan, Tipperary)
Wexford will have benefitted from the trip to Portlaoise last weekend never mind the fine win they pulled off against Galway and they are showing so much characteralready. Eddie Brennan will have Laois pumped to take a scalp but Wexford should have enough nous to stave them off.
Mayo v Kerry, Elverys MacHale Park, 2pm (C. Cunning, Antrim)
A long trip for the Kingdom, but one they can make count.
Roscommon v Warwickshire, Dr Hyde Park, 1pm (J. Clarke, Cavan)
Lancashire v Cavan, NGDC, Abbotstown, 2pm (N. Wall, Cork)
AIB All-Ireland Club IFC final Magheracloone Mitchel’s (Monaghan) v Oughterard (Galway), Croke Park, 5.15pm (S. Laverty, Antrim) Live TG4 YouTube
Pardon the pun, but Magheracloone had made some waves since they were hit by awful flooding last year. Tommy Freeman is as sharp as ever and while the Galway and Connacht champions pulled off a fine win over Templenoe in the semi-final there’s almost a sense of destiny about the Mitchel’s men.
Verdict: Magheracloone Mitchel’s.
AIB All-Ireland Club JFC final
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown (Wexford) v Na Gaeil (Kerry), Croke Park, 3.15pm (S. Lonergan, Tipperary) Live TG4 YouTube
Na Gaeil will be battle-hardened following their extra-time semi-final win and Jack Barry might be able to play more of a role this timeon this occasion. The Wexford side have racked up the wins yet Kerry clubs have a habit of sparkling on this occasion.
Verdict: Na Gaeil.
Lidl Ladies NFL, Round 1
Cork v Westmeath, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 4pm
For the very first time, the defending champions Cork will have the chance to play at the Páirc Uí Chaoimh. The Lake County avoided relegation from the top division last year and have their work cut out again in a highly competitive pool.
Dalo’s Hurling Show: A fair league format but is the cut-throat element gone?
Allianz Football League, Round 1
Tyrone v Meath, Healy Park, 2pm (J. McQuillan, Cavan)
Andy McEntee won’t have forgotten how Tyrone and some officiating upset him a couple of seasons ago. Irrespective of that, Meath wouldn’t have the worst record against Tyrone and the home of the Red Hand Tyrone know their home is nofortress. A good McKenna Cup as almost always by the Red Hand men but Meath’s eagerness may earn their a share of the spoils.
Galway v Monaghan, Pearse Stadium, 2.30pm (M. Deegan, Laois)
A pretty strong Monaghan team has been named by Seamus McEnaney, but who is to believe any panel, nevermind any team in the league when there is no punishment for introducing late changes? Galway might have surprised Pádraic Joyce with how well they have done so far, but it’s already clear the players are responding to a style of football they like to play.
Westmeath v Clare, TEG Cusack Park, 2pm (N. Cullen, Fermanagh)
Colm Collins has stressed the Banner still have a fine panel despite losing key men, over the winter and he’s right, but when push comes to shove how he would dearly love to have Jamie Malone and Gary Brennan. With them, a result in Mullingar would be a lot more achievable.
Roscommon v Laois, Dr Hyde Park, 2pm (C. Branagan, Down)
A difficult competitive debut for Micheál Quirke as Laois manager but he will hope his players embrace it. As Laois are without the Kingstons, the Rossies are down the Murtaghs, but two years of Super 8s football and last year’s Division 1 campaign will stand to the home county.
Kildare v Fermanagh, St Conleth’s Park, 2.30pm (F. Kelly, Longford)
Ryan McMenamin will look to make Fermanagh as doughty as possible here and ask his players to test Kildare’s appetite for a battle from the outset. Good thing for Kildare that they have enough men who have the bottle for such an occasion, however.
Longford v Louth, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, 2pm (M. McNally, Monaghan)
On a high on a happy vibe after their O’Byrne Cup success, Longford should be able to harness that feeling to see off Louth as the gauntlet for promotion and the qualifiers commences.
Tipperary v Down, Clonmel, 2pm (A. Nolan, Wicklow)
Clonmel hasn’t been favoured by visiting teams before and it could be just the place for Tipperary to get their campaign off to a starting on a positive start. No Michael Quinlivan, but then so many are missing for Down.
Antrim v Wexford, Glenavy, 2pm (B. Tiernan, Dublin)
Paul Galvin’s first game on the sideline couldn’t be much further away from Wexford, and he might find it a trying one.
London v Sligo, McGovern Park, 2pm (P. Faloon, Down)
Niall Murphy is a big loss for Sligo this year, but they can claim a win in Ruislip as new London manager Michael Maher gets begins his tenure under way.
Allianz Hurling League, Round 1
Division 1, Group 1
Galway v Westmeath, Pearse Stadium, 12.30pm, (J. Murphy, Limerick)
At least in the naming of the team, Shane O’Neill has shown to Westmeath that Galway will be taking this game seriously. There is just the right amount of experimentation and experience to ensure Westmeath are put to the sword. How Gearóid McInerney fares at full-back will be keenly viewed.
Waterford v Cork, Walsh Park, 2pm (J. Keenan, Wicklow) Live TG4
Undoubtedly the hurling game of the day considering the amount of curiosity around it. Waterford will be without Jamie Barron and Austin Gleeson, affect the home team in their engine room where the hope would have been their work-rate might trump Cork’s. Yet effort is what Kieran Kingston will be honing in on most, and a bit of ruthlessness from his forwards in front of goal wouldn’t go astray either.
Division 1, Group 2
Clare v Carlow, Cusack Park, 2pm (L. Gordon, Galway)
Not that it should be too gentle, but this is by far and away the quietest way Brian Lohan can begin his Clare reign. in earnest. Carlow won’t be too shabby when Colm Bonner’s at the helm, yet anything other than a home winwould cause some commotion.
Kilkenny v Dublin, UPMC Nowlan Park, 2pm (P. O’Dwyer, Carlow) Deferred TG4
The accused returns to the scene of the crime and Dublin selector Greg Kennedy is sure to get a heated reception at Nowlan Park. That won’t matter much to him. What will concern Mattie Kenny and him more is if Dublin have the shooters to really hurt Kilkenny. They have the physicality, but it’s in the forwards where they will be looking for most improvement. A not-so-surprising away win is on the cards.
Wicklow v Antrim, Aughrim, 2pm (C. Mooney, Down)
Antrim won’t mind too much that they lost to Offaly last week. The venue here is difficult, but they can still claim the win.
Offaly v Meath, St Brendan’s Park, Birr, 2pm (M. Murtagh, Westmeath)
Perhaps it’s the low profile of this game has that has it being staged in Birr, but in the spiritual home of the game in the county, Offaly are that bit better and they have had a decent pre-season.
Kildare v London, St Conleth’s Park, 12.30pm (S. Hynes, Galway)
Derry v Down, Celtic Park, 2pm (C. McDonald, Antrim)
Louth v Tyrone, Darver, 2pm (R. Fitzsimons, Offaly)
Donegal v Armagh, O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny, 2pm (A. Ferguson, Fermanagh)
Monaghan v Longford, Inniskeen, 2pm (T. Conway, Derry)
Fermanagh v Leitrim, Brewster Park, 2pm (T. Gleeson, Dublin)
AIB All-Ireland Camogie Senior Club Championship semi-finals
Sarsfields (Galway) v St. Vincents (Dublin), MacDonagh Park, Nenagh, 2pm (O. Elliot, Antrim).
Sarsfields claimed the Galway Championship title following victory over St. Thomas’, while StVincents collected the Leinster title with an impressive win over St Martins — but Sarsfields look that bit stronger.
Slaughtneil (Derry) v Scariff/Ogonnelloe (Clare), Donaghmore-Ashbourne GAA, 2pm (J. Dermody, Westmeath)
Reigning All-Ireland champions Slaughtneil retained their Ulster crown by beating Loughgiel Shamrocks, and they look bound for the final once more. Scariff/Ogonnelloe are hoping to reach a senior deciderl for the first time having previously lost two junior All-Ireland finals.
Lidl Ladies NFL, Round 1, Division 1
Dublin v Tipperary, Ballyboden St Endas, 2pm, LGFA Facebook Live
All-Ireland champions Dublin welcome intermediate winners Tipperary to theFirhouse Road venue. Tipperary are without Aisling Mc-Carthy and the injured Anna Rose Kennedy for the trip to the capital, but there’s still enough quality in the team to give Dublin a real test.
Galway v Waterford, Corofin, 2pm
Last year’s Galway captain Tracey Leonard will play alongside cousin Roisin in the full-forward line, as the home team aim for a winning start. Waterford gained promotion by seeing off Kerry in last season’s Division 2 final, and staying inDivision 1 this year would be a notable achievement.
Mayo v Donegal, Swinford Amenity Park, 2.30pm.
Both teams are down some key names for various reasons, with Mayo’s Kelly sisters Niamh and Grace, and Sarah Rowe, in Australia. Donegal do have ace forward Geraldine McLaughlin in their starting team, however, and she can wreak havoc on an opposition defence on any given day.
Cavan v Kerry, Denn Gas, Crosskeys, 12pm
Clare v Armagh, Shannon McNamara Park, Doonbeg, 12pm
Meath v Tyrone, Dunganny Centre of Excellence, 2pm.
Wexford v Monaghan, St Patrick’s Park, Enniscorthy, 2pm
Fermanagh v Kildare, Kinawley, 2pm
Laois v Wicklow, LOETB Centre of Excellence, 2pm
Longford v Down, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, 12pm
Roscommon v Sligo, Abbey Park, Boyle, 12pm
Antrim v Offaly, The Dublin (Pitch 15), Belfast, 1.30pm
Carlow v Limerick, IT Carlow, 2pm
Derry v Leitrim, Owenbeg, 2pm
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