Allianz Football League previews


Division 3: Louth v Westmeath, Croke Park, 7pm, (R Hickey, Clare), TG4 Live.

SO Louth are undeserving of promotion to Division 2. Well, that’s according to their manager Peter Fitzpatrick. Before their last round win over Waterford put them up, the newly-appointed TD said they didn’t merit the reward after their poor second half of the league, and they’re rightful underdogs today, especially without Shane Lennon. The Westmeath attack has plenty of savvy, even with Dessie Dolan marked absent.

Verdict: Westmeath

Division 4: Longford v Roscommon, Croke Park. 5pm, (B Cassidy, Derry) TG4 Live

ARGUABLY the most clear-cut final of the weekend even if the sides drew in their last clash. Roscommon are lifting it right now, as evidenced by their win over Leitrim after they had already qualified. Their unbeaten run is an indication of just how intent they are in retaining their Connacht title this year. Their trip New York next week might be on their mind but as Cathal Cregg revealed they have a confidence now to go out and win every game. Longford’s inside forward line will give the Rossies plenty to think about but Fergie O’Donnell’s entire attack poses more a threat.

Verdict: Roscommon


Division 2: Laois v Donegal, Croke Park 2.0 (M Duffy, Sligo) TG4 Live

POOR discipline and over-elaboration cost Donegal their unbeaten run in Portlaoise Sunday week and there will be a particular onus on not giving MJ Tierney free shots.

Amazingly, Donegal beat Laois by 15 points in the corresponding round fixture last year, and a lot of the credit for that turnaround in the O’Moore County has to go to Justin McNulty who’s not just beefed up his team but the defence too. Michael Murphy, who’s been declared fit despite a dead leg, was kept too quiet for Donegal’s liking last day out and Kevin Meaney will be tasked with another silencing job on the skipper.

But Jim McGuinness won’t countenance a second defeat to Laois in as many weeks. If his players have the required pride they won’t allow it to happen either.

Verdict: Donegal


DONEGAL (SF v Laois): P Durkan; P McGrath, N McGee, K Lacey; A Thompson, F McFlynn, K Cassidy; R Kavanagh, M McElhinney; M Hegarty, M McHugh, D Molloy; R Bradley, M Murphy, C McFadden.

LAOIS (SF v Donegal): E Culleton; D Booth, K Meaney, M Timmons; D Strong, S Julian, P O'Leary; P Clancy, B Quigley; C Begley, J O'Loughlin, N Donoher; R Munnelly, B Sheehan, MJ Tierney.

ROSCOMMON (SF v Longford): G Claffey; S McDermott, P Domican, N Carty; S Purcell, D Keenan, D Ward; M Finneran, K Mannion; C Devaney, K Higgins, C Cregg; J Rogers, S Kilbride, D Shine.

WESTMEATH (SF v Louth): G Connaughton; F Boyle, K Gavin, J Gaffey; G Egan, A Finnan, D Harte; B Murtagh, D Corroon; P Sharry, D Glennon, C Lynam; P Greville, J Dolan, D Glennon.

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