Weekend GAA preview: Senior Football Championship

Peter McNamara assesses the live matches this weekend.

Weekend GAA preview: Senior Football Championship

Ulster SFC semi-final - Donegal v Derry

7pm, tonight, Clones (live on Sky Sports 1)

Peter Canavan wrote in his Sky Sports column on Thursday that Patrick McBrearty was “playing the best football of his life”.

The great man is absolutely spot on and McBrearty could torment Derry tonight in Clones as Donegal and Brian McIver’s side meet for the right to face Monaghan in the Ulster SFC final.

Colm McFadden’s return to Donegal’s starting line-up is the icing on the cake at present for Rory Gallagher as the Tír Chonaill outfit seek a place in the provincial final once more.

McBrearty and McFadden, fed by Michael Murphy and Odhran MacNiallais, will create havoc in Derry’s defensive third.

In contrast, it would concern McIver that the Oak Leafers managed to score just 0-12 in their respective quarter-final against Down despite the fact the latter contested most of the second half with just 14 men after Conall McGovern was dismissed.

Clones will suit Donegal and Gallagher’s men can roar to victory.

Key man: Patrick McBrearty

Verdict: Donegal

Leinster SFC semi-final - Meath v Westmeath

2pm, Sunday, Croke Park (live on RTÉ)

Earlier on in the season, Meath played Westmeath in the league and destroyed their rivals 4-10 to 0-11 with Graham Reilly particularly effective for the Royal County.

The stakes, of course, are much higher on this occasion but the same outcome is expected with Mick O’Dowd’s side capable of reaching a fourth Leinster final on the spin.

Remarkably, in 22 Championship attempts throughout the years, the Lake County has never defeated Meath.

That statistic is bound to have been mentioned time and again in the east this week and will surely play on the minds of Tom Cribbin’s team.

Andrew Tormey was superb as Meath overcame Wicklow in the previous round and the attacker is sure to have a major bearing on this encounter too.

Tormey registered 1-9 (1-0 pen, 0-7 frees, 0-1 45) out of Meath’s impressive tally of 2-19 on that occasion and Cribbin’s side will need to negate him, first and foremost.

Key man: Andrew Tormey

Verdict: Meath

Leinster SFC semi-final - Dublin v Kildare

4pm, Sunday, Croke Park (live on RTÉ)

All eyes are likely to be fixated on Diarmuid Connolly after the high-quality forward was a subject of Darragh Ó Sé’s column earlier this week.

The Kerryman suggested Kildare should indulge in the dark arts in an attempt to draw the St Vincent’s clubman out thus testing the theory he is a more mature customer these days.

Ó Sé has been criticised since but there is no doubt it is now an element of this fixture Dublin could have done without with the Lilywhites likely to throw the kitchen sink at them.

Even if Connolly is out of sorts for one reason or another, Dubliners need not fret.

After all, it has been Dean Rock that has carried their offensive brigade from the get-go this season and he is likely to do so again despite Kildare’s efforts to curtail the attacker.

Tactically, Jason Ryan has always tested Dublin but Jim Gavin’s side will find the answers.

Key man: Dean Rock

Verdict: Dublin

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