This weekend's GAA Championship preview

This weekend's GAA Championship preview

By Peter McNamara

Leinster Senior Hurling Championship quarter-final

Dublin v Galway - 2pm, Sunday, Croke Park (live on RTÉ)

No disrespect to either Offaly or Laois, but the winner of this Dublin-Galway tie in the Leinster SHC is essentially guaranteed a place in the last six of the All-Ireland series and so the magnitude of this clash cannot be overstated.

Dublin supremo Ger Cunningham has Chris Crummey stationed at centre-back and he will be flanked by Shane Durkin and Conal Keaney in a really strong half-back line.

Behind that trio, Peter Kelly was generally excellent throughout the League at full-back and if Joe Canning, named at No 14 by Anthony Cunningham, does remain in that role for Galway the Kelly-Canning subplot will be a fascinating one.

However, there is no guarantee Canning will roam in the inside forward line.

There are fewer more deadly full-forwards in the code so it could be counter-productive again if Galway withdraw the Portumna clubman to operate in and around the middle-third.

Doing that can also send a negative psychological signal to those initially positioned in the area that, essentially, they are not truly trusted to carry out their duties effectively enough themselves.

There is, once again, so many question marks surrounding Galway’s capacity to contend this year.

The Tribesmen could show up at headquarters tomorrow and produce a mesmerising display and yet could also be awful.

The only consistency about Galway is their exhaustive inconsistency but major things are expected of a progressive Dublin this summer.

Verdict: Dublin

Leinster Senior Football Championship quarter-final

Dublin v Longford - 4pm, Sunday, Croke Park (live on RTÉ)

This weekend's GAA Championship preview

For Longford to have any sort of realistic chance of defeating Dublin in the Leinster SFC quarter-final at headquarters Jack Sheedy’s side will probably need to raise at least three green flags.

The problem with that theory is Dublin have been more defensively compact this season thus far than they have been in recent years.

Dublin, to put Longford’s task into perspective, are as short as 1-250 with one bookmaker to win this particular encounter.

Sheedy will rely upon an inside forward line of Barry McKeon, Brian Kavanagh, who, of course, plays his club football in Dublin with Kilmacud Crokes, and Ross McNerney to provide the scores.

However, McKeon and McNerney could well spend more time funnelling back to support their teammates in the central sector of the field rather than attack Stephen Cluxton’s goal.

In fact, Longford may try to pack their own rearguard in an attempt to contain Jim Gavin’s men, especially in the opening quarter.

However, that will be easier said and written than done and Dublin, irrespective of how tight Longford are initially defensively, will inevitably eradicate the blockade.

Even if those chosen to lead Dublin’s charge are not firing on all cylinders Gavin has plenty of other options in reserve and it is actually those introduced in the second half that may pile on the agony to Longford as they seek to impress their manager.

Dublin should cruise home.

Verdict: Dublin

Munster Senior Football Championship quarter-final

Tipperary v Waterford - 3.30pm, Sunday, Semple Stadium, Thurles

This weekend's GAA Championship preview

The ever-improving Tipperary, with Peter Creedon at the helm, are long odds-on to set-up a semi-final meeting with Kerry by nullifying Tom McGlinchey’s Waterford in Thurles.

Conor Sweeney and Michael Quinlivan could torment the Déíse.

Verdict: Tipperary

Ulster Senior Football Championship quarter-final

Fermanagh v Antrim - 4pm, Sunday, Brewster Park (BBC NI deferred coverage)

This weekend's GAA Championship preview

The Pete McGrath factor could be significant as Fermanagh, without a victory in the Ulster SFC since 2010, host Antrim.

Fermanagh’s boss has vast experience and they can progress to play Monaghan.

Verdict: Fermanagh

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