Peter McNamara picks out three things to watch for in the Allianz Leagues this weekend.
Oh, to be a fly on the wall of the Clare dressing room in Cusack Park, Ennis this afternoon.
It has become, in no uncertain terms, apparent that there are indeed negative connotations surrounding Clare’s panel and management based on the eyebrow-raising quotes of Davy O’Halloran in the media this morning.
O’Halloran, an All-Ireland winner in 2013, has said he was “humiliated” by the treatment of manager Davy Fitzgerald for a supposed breach of discipline.
Both he and Nicky O’Connell have left the panel having refused to fulfil a ‘punishment’ for their actions.
This, of course, is not the first signs of player disenchantment with Fitzgerald.
If Clare lose to Dublin today in the Allianz NHL Division 1A, the vultures will begin to circle around the boss and his management team.
Clare need a victory, big-time.
Eamon O’Shea and Tipperary will be relishing the opportunity to send Kilkenny into the top-tier mire tomorrow afternoon in Semple Stadium, Thurles.
The question is - can they defeat a side that has lorded it over them in recent years in terms of the head-to-head rivalry between the two counties?
The Cats are unbeaten in their last eight league and championship encounters against the Premier men, but O’Shea’s charges will probably not get a better chance to halt that form slide any time soon.
There is an awful lot to like about Tipp, but the psychological boost of hurdling Brian Cody’s albeit weakened unit would be beneficial.
Clash of the titans
The All-Ireland finalists of last year meet at Austin Stack Park tomorrow as Kerry host Donegal in the Allianz NFL Division 1.
Cork tormented Éamonn Fitzmaurice’s side in the first-half of their encounter last Sunday however, it is unlikely, due primarily to the way in which they are set up, that Donegal will cause Kerry similar problems.
Cork were breaking through their defensive lines at pace in Páirc Uí Rinn but Donegal operate off of a more methodical basis and Kerry are sure to realign their rearguard while trying to contain counter-attacks more effectively.
Peter Crowley’s presence at wing-back will add to Kerry’s capacity to compete efficiently around the middle-third.
Crowley is highly-rated and given Fitzmaurice does not have an abundance of top-class defensive quality the likes of the Laune Rangers clubman will be a pivotal component of their side again this season, particularly tomorrow.