We are just hours away from the beginning of the 2019 National Football League as Mayo face Roscommon in an intriguing Connacht derby to get the competition underway.
Three games on Sunday see Kerry, Galway and Monaghan all have tricky home ties as the race for a spot in the March 31 final commences.
John Fogarty and Therese O’Callaghan preview the action.
Anthony Cunningham may have been among the last managers appointed but he appears to have hit the ground running going by last weekend’s Connacht SFL final win over Galway. That said, he is without some key players and Mayo supporters will be demanding a performance and a win given how much preparation James Horan has had with his men. If Mayo are truly refreshed it’ll be seen here.
Curiosity more than expectation should guarantee a healthy crowd heads towards Upper Lewis Road. When Peter Keane has explained several players that might be regarded as first-teamers will be missing it’s a performance, not a result that will be looked for. Tyrone come in after another pre-season that augurs well and the long distance to Killarney won’t matter much to them.
As Shane Walsh said at the league launch, Galway will be treating this encounter with respect given it wasn’t too long ago that Cavan turned up in Salthill and took the points. Galway, though, are a different, and more dangerous, animal now.
Several All-Stars are set to miss this game but that shouldn’t take away from the intrigue surrounding Dublin in this their potential five-in-a-row season. Last year was an exception but Monaghan are usually strong starters in the league and a win over the Division 1 and All-Ireland champions would do their confidence a world of good. However, they are unlikely to cope without their absent men as Dublin will.