Match Previews: Eirgrid U21 Football Championship

Connacht semi-final: Roscommon v Sligo, Kiltoom, 7.30pm.

Ronan Daly and Enda Smith were key contributors in DCU’s recent Sigerson Cup success and will figure prominently for Mark Dowd’s Roscommon outfit. Diarmuid Murtagh too showed plenty of promise in the senior’s run to FBD glory.

Sligo will look to senior trio Kevin McDonnell, Cian Breheny and Criostóir Davey.

Verdict: Roscommon

Leinster semi-final: Longford v Dublin, Pairc Tailteann, Navan, 7.30pm, (J Hickey, Carlow)

Cormac Costello missed Dublin’s quarter-final through injury and is again left out of Dessie Farrell’s starting team. Theirs is a loaded forward unit in which Shane Carthy, Conor McHugh and Killian O’Gara, younger brother to senior star Eoghan, must be curtailed.

Longford failed in this regard during last year’s semi-final meeting, conceding two goals within the opening quarter. Andrew Farrell and Cian Farrelly provide capable cover for the Midlanders. It may, however, not prove enough.

Verdict: Dublin

Leinster semi-final: Meath v Kildare, O Moore Park, Portlaoise, 7.30pm, (B Tiernan, Dublin).

Ruairí Ó Coileain kicked seven points of Meath’s 1-10 quarter-final tally. Such an imbalance in front of goal they cannot again afford. Eamonn Wallace, returning from a cruciate injury, is sure to have benefited from his 45-minute involvement against Westmeath.

Kildare will look for inspiration from their senior brigade — Niall Kelly, Paul Mescal, Paschal Connell, Mark Sherry, Neil Flynn and David Hyland. Their stronger central spine to be a telling factor.

Verdict: Kildare

Munster semi-final: Cork v Kerry, Páirc Uí Rinn, 7.30pm, (D O’Mahoney, Tipperary)

Surely Cork cannot be as lethargic as they were last Wednesday. Manager Sean Hayes has carried out the necessary corrective surgery, making three changes in personnel. Brian O’Driscoll, Micheál McSweeney and Kevin Davis come into the fray with Alan O’Donovan moved to midfield. Cork were beaten all ends up in this department against Limerick, and again without the services of the injured Ian Maguire, the home outfit will struggle against the Kerry partnership of Barry O’Sullivan and Jack Barry. Peter Kelleher showed superb aerial prowess on the edge of the square at the Gaelic Grounds and his services may be better utilised further out the field.

Darragh O Sé’s troops enjoyed a busy January of Hastings Cup action, but are without a competitive game for the past four and a half weeks. Cork were afforded plenty of room for error in their first championship outing. No such luxury will befall Kerry here.

Conor Keane and Jack Savage will be given closest attention by the home defence. Time for them to stop the rot.

Verdict: Kerry

Munster semi-final: Clare vTipperary, Semple Stadium, 7.30pm (J Bermingham, Cork).

Tipperary make their championship bow with four of the team — Colin O’Riordan, Steven O’Brien, Ian Fahey and Liam Casey — that lined out in Sunday’s National League win away to Louth. Manager Tommy Toomey can also call on the services of senior hurlers John McGrath and Bill Maher.

Jamie Malone, Keelan Sexton and Eimhin Courtney did the damage in Clare’s 2-11 to 0-3 quarter-final victory over Waterford last week. The visitors will benefit from having that Waterford win under their belts but it won’t steel them enough to deal with another strong Premier side.

Verdict: Tipperary.

TIPPERARY U21’s v Clare: E Comerford (Kilsheelan Kilcash); K Fahey (Clonmel Commercials), J Feehan (Killenaule), C O’Shaughnessy (Ardfinnan); C O’Riordan, capt (JK Brackens), R Mulcahy (Moyle Rovers), B Maher (Kilsheelan Kilcash); L Casey (Cahir), S O’Brien (Ballina); P Shanahan (Upperchurch Drombane), I Fahey (Commercials), J Lonergan (Clonmel Commercials); P Maher (Kilsheelan Kilcash), J McGrath (Loughmore Castleiney), J Keane (Golden Kilfeacle).

Ulster quarter-final: Tyrone vFermanagh, Healy Park, Omagh, 8pm, (D Connolly)

Hard to envisage anything other than a comfortable home victory — Conall McCann, Lee Brennan, Caolan Harvey and James McGahan to write the headlines for Tyrone.

Verdict: Tyrone

Ulster quarter-final: Armagh v Antrim, Athletic Grounds, 8pm, (B Rice)

Last year’s quarter-final meeting required extra-time and a second day out. Expect this latest joust to be wrapped up well inside the hour. The quality of Dónal Ó Néill, Ciaron O’Hanlon and Cathal McKenna should see Steven McDonnell’s outfit breast the tape.

Verdict: Armagh

Ulster quarter-final: Donegal v Cavan, Ballybofey, 8pm, (S Hurson)

Cavan haven’t lost an Ulster U21 championship game in five years — falling to Donegal in the 2010 decider. Ryan McHugh, cousin Eoin and Hugh McFadden will lead their revenge mission following last year’s narrow provincial final loss.

Verdict: Donegal.

Ulster quarter-final: Monaghan v Derry, Inniskeen, 8pm.

Monaghan are coming in cold; Derry buoyed by their encouraging preliminary round performance win over Down. Niall O’Loughlin and Terence O’Brien to again provide the necessary scores.

Verdict: Derry

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