Don’t underestimate how much last week’s game in Tralee will bring on Laois (irrespective of the result). But they will have to forget that disappointment in a hurry if they are to avoid a seventh straight defeat. The problem is not only has winning become a habit for Westmeath but their defence has not yet shipped a goal in the league this year. They have been extremely mean and Laois may not have enough ability to break then down.
There’s little to suggest Donegal will end their streak of misery against a free-scoring Roscommon side.
Much has changed – and largely for Kerry – since the pair faced off in Killarney in February. The surprise win triggered four on the trot for a Roscommon team who were expected to struggle but found their feet in the middle part of the campaign. Their recent losses to Mayo and Dublin carry asterisks at their job of surviving and gaining a semi-final spot were in the bag by the time they saw off Donegal in Letterkenny. Kerry haven’t looked back since that Fitzgerald Stadium setback and bring a momentum Roscommon may find hard to halt. Kerry were stronger in the first- half against Cork but it’s in the third quarter where they have been pulling away from teams and Roscommon must be so careful to hang on during that period. In the latter stages in February, they showed a cuteness to maintain their advantage but Kerry will be forewarned and forearmed. They’ll also know all about Roscommon’s scoring prowess from around the middle and the roaming ranger that is Cathal Cregg. That middle third is where Kerry have been best since round two and Kieran Donaghy has been excellent in partnerships with Bryan Sheehan and now David Moran. Kevin McStay may have a plan devised for Paul Murphy, who was playing in a more conventional role in Fitzgerald Stadium, but there would appear more ways for Kerry to win this than there are for Roscommon.
A team that has not lost a league or championship game since March 2015 against one that has lost their last four matches? Sounds clear-cut, doesn’t it? Who knows if Donegal’s priorities have changed since their opening three games when their younger generation were verifiably invigorating the team. That being said, two of those wins came against the relegated pair of Down and Cork while the other was at home to Mayo who just about survived by the skin of their teeth. Dublin have lost just one league outing in Croke Park under Jim Gavin and after some experimentation last weekend a more familiar line-up will take the field with the aim of breaking down Donegal quicker than they have done the previous two times. If Donegal are to defy the odds, Michael Murphy must remain on the field for the entirety of the game. He hasn’t finished either of the last two league games against Dublin and it seemed the sizzle went out of Donegal’s play when he was sent off for a second bookable offence last Saturday week. Dublin will aim to press hard on the Donegal kick-out as they did the last time but Donegal should realise it’s in midfield where they have the advantage over the champions. They could make hay there and Ryan and Eoin McHugh can find holes but not enough to outdo the strength of their opponents.
Kerry must defeat bottom of the table Tyrone and hope other results go their way if they are to make the semi-finals.
After a sluggish start Cork have hit their stride in recent weeks. A win is imperative if they are to continue their interest in the competition. Armagh have impressed this season and tomorrow’s trip to Ovens will be a good test.
able toppers Mayo are at home to a Monaghan side battling to avoid the drop to Division Two. Hard to see past Cora Staunton and company.
A crucial tie for both. A Dublin win will secure their place in the semis while a Galway success would only be worthwhile if other results fall in their favour. Home advantage will be crucial.