Weekend previews and predictions: Old rivalries renewed as League campaigns enter crunch phase

John Fogarty previews the weekend's GAA fixtures.

Weekend previews and predictions: Old rivalries renewed as League campaigns enter crunch phase

John Fogarty previews the weekend's GAA fixtures.

SATURDAY

Allianz Football League, Round 5 Division 1

Mayo v Kerry, Elverys MacHale Park 7.15pm (M. McNally, Monaghan) Live Eir Sports, RTÉ

A meeting where the bragging rights have been exchanged frequently in recent times, Mayo twice having scalped Kerry in last year’s league, only to suffer the hangover of seeing off Galway in Killarney last summer. Kerry have plenty to work on after a sloppy win over Meath last weekend, and will be favourites at a venue where Mayo have failed to make home advantage count, but Mayo can take something from this.

Verdict: Draw.

Tyrone v Dublin, Healy Park 7.15pm (C. Reilly, Tyrone) Live Eir Sports

Mickey Harte won’t just want a response from his players after they were trounced in Tuam, he’ll be demanding it. The difficulty for him and Tyrone, though, is the opposition, who have been slow to start in games but have yet to be beaten despite not having three Footballer of the Year Award winners available. Tyrone may have to return to a containment style to stay in this game, but defeat looks the most likely outcome.

Verdict: Dublin.

Division 2

Laois v Kildare, MW Hire O’Moore Park 7pm (J. McQuillan, Cavan)

It’s been a mixed bag for Laois thus far, but the positives outweigh the negatives — whereas things are anything but pleasant for Kildare right now. Lose here, and they have to pick up at least three points from their last two games, both at home, to survive. In the battle of the Kerry managers, Jack O’Connor’s sense of urgency may rub off enough on his players to put in a performance.

Verdict: Draw.

Division 4

London v Wicklow, McGovern Park 1pm (J. Hickey, Carlow)

The Exiles have struggled so far and Wicklow aren’t going to be charitable as they intend keeping their promotion hopes alive.

Verdict: Wicklow.

Wexford v Sligo, Chadwicks Wexford Park 2pm (S. Lonergan, Tipperary)

After a fine start, Sligo seem to have regressed and a defeat here could end their hopes of Division 3 football in 2021. Wexford, on the other hand, have looked better and better since that forgettable start against Antrim.

Verdict: Wexford.

Waterford v Carlow, Fraher Field 7pm (B. Griffin, Kerry)

Carlow still have a slim opportunity to join the promotion race, but they face a Waterford team buzzing after taking their first win in Sligo.

Verdict: Draw.

Littlewoods Ireland Camogie Leagues.

Division 1, Group 1

Clare v Cork, Cratloe GAA 2pm (L. Dempsey, Kilkenny)

It’s two wins from two for Clare, who will be flying high after their thrilling win over Kilkenny. The challenge doesn’t get any easier this weekend as they welcome the Rebels to their home turf. Cork have only played one fixture to date which came a number of weeks ago — an opening-round 1-19 to 0-12 win over Waterford.

Verdict: Cork

Kilkenny v Offaly, John Lockes GAA, Callan 2pm (R. Kelly, Kildare)

Defeat in their opening-round fixture leaves the Cats with a difficult task of keeping confidence high amongst the group as they welcome a fellow Leinster side Offaly to Kilkenny. The performance last weekend was not up to the standards this side have set for themselves in recent years, and they will want to rectify that at their earliest opportunity.

Verdict: Kilkenny

SUNDAY

Allianz Football League, Rd 5

Division 1

Donegal v Monaghan, Fr Tierney Park, Ballyshannon 2pm (D. Coldrick, Meath) Deferred TG4

If Ballybofey is a fortress, then windy Fr Tierney Park is not too far behind it for Donegal. How they will be kicking themselves after letting slip another lead last week-end. Declan Bonner won’t have to say much to motivate his men, especially against a team who are looking more like their strongest opponents in Ulster, but Donegal have to become more ruthless. Monaghan look revitalised, but they face an angry group here.

Verdict: Donegal.

Meath v Galway, Páirc Tailteann 2.30pm (N. Cullen, Fermanagh)

Meath were scouted by Galway as far back as Round 2 and there is nothing that Pádraic Joyce’s new management team is taking for granted. They know what they face here — a Meath side who will be all but relegated if they lose. Shane Walsh, looking the player everybody expected him to be under Joyce, will be expected to continue his rich vein of form, and the Corofin players look more at home in his set-up. Meath will fight on their backs but it mightn’t be enough.

Verdict: Galway.

Division 2

Fermanagh v Armagh, Brewster Park 2pm (C. Branagan, Down)

Things have been heated between these two in the past, and this should be no exception as Fermanagh have to make up for dropping points at home last weekend. They drew here two years ago, and they may have to settle for the same again.

Verdict: Draw.

Roscommon v Westmeath, Dr Hyde Park 2pm (B. Tiernan, Dublin)

Both teams know they can begin thinking about promotion should they pick up two points, although the Rossies’ trajectory has been rising steeper following their shaky start. Westmeath will aim to make up for a dropped point at home to Armagh, but Roscommon are beginning to look like Division 1 material again.

Verdict: Roscommon.

Cavan v Clare, Kingspan Breffni Park 2.30pm (J. Henry, Mayo)

After being dismissed at the outset of the league, siege mentality appears to have set in for Cavan, and it suits them. Clare have done a decent enough job of being competitive in spite of their high-profile absentees, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult.

Verdict: Cavan.

Division 3

Cork v Derry, Páirc Uí Chaoimh 2pm (F. Kelly, Longford)

Ronan McCarthy isn’t short-sighted enough to consider the 21 points they coughed up against Tipperary was all down to their rash of injuries. They will have to shore up their defence against a Derry team who are looking more like a promotion team in their last couple of outings. Now just three points away from Division 2 football, Cork shouldn’t slip up.

Verdict: Cork.

Longford v Tipperary, Glennon Bros Pearse Park 2.30pm (N. McKenna, Monaghan)

After the start they made against Cork, and bearing in mind they scored six more times than them, that loss will have stung Tipperary bad. It’s up to their leaders and manager David Power to harness that hurt with a big display and a win here as relegation would be a big setback. They can claim a point.

Verdict: Draw.

Louth v Leitrim, Páirc Naomh Bríd, Dowdallshill 2pm (L. Devenney, Mayo)

Fail to win here, and Louth face an onerous task to remain in Division 3. They have been slightly unlucky to remain pointless, but can finally open their account against fellow strugglers Leitrim.

Verdict: Louth.

Offaly v Down, Bord na Móna O’Connor Park 2.30pm (J. Bermingham, Cork)

Just the one game at home thus far for Offaly, which ended in a draw. In that regard, their five points is slightly more impressive than Down’s five, but Paddy Tally’s side will be difficult to break down.

Verdict: Down.

Division 4

Antrim v Limerick, O’Cathain Park, Portglenone 2pm (P. Faloon, Down)

Limerick remain the only team with a 100% record across the leagues, but it is under threat here, against a team whose defence is almost as mean as theirs and also have designs on promotion.

Verdict: Antrim.

Allianz Hurling League, Round 5

Division 1, Group A

Galway v Cork, Pearse Stadium 2pm (F. Horgan, Tipperary) Deferred TG4

With Cork coming off the back of a defeat and Galway looking to end a two-game losing streak, there should be a bit of bite to this one. There may just be more of a desperation to Cork’s attitude, given this is their final round game and they could all but rule Galway out of the knockout stages with a win. Cork have won in Salthill before and if there is one manager who knows more about his team right now, it’s Kieran Kingston.

Verdict: Cork.

Limerick v Westmeath, LIT Gaelic Grounds 2pm (S. Hynes, Galway)

Some of them might be sporting tans and the majority could be leggy after their warm-weather training camp in Portugal, but Limerick won’t want to lose any momentum, even if John Kiely tries to fresher faces. Westmeath must contemplate a relegation play-off.

Verdict: Limerick.

Tipperary v Waterford, Semple Stadium 2pm (S. Stack, Dublin) Live TG4

Liam Cahill returns home with a greenish Waterford team who have done well at home, but it’s here and against Limerick where the real tests are provided. For all their chopping and changing, Tipp have been competitive and will look to exert some superiority on a Waterford team that still have to develop a physical edge.

Verdict: Tipperary.

Division 1, Group B

Clare v Dublin, Cusack Park 2pm (D. Hughes, Kilkenny)

Dublin know they need too much to go their way elsewhere to make the quarter-finals and Clare, while their knockout spot is secure, won’t want to slip up now that a semi-final is in their reach. Certainly, Brian Lohan wouldn’t want to see his team lose that place to Davy Fitzgerald’s Wexford.

Verdict: Clare.

Laois v Kilkenny, UPMC Nowlan Park 2pm (J. Keenan, Wicklow)

If there was anything on the line here Laois wouldn’t have so readily given up home advantage but such is the condition of the O’Moore Park pitch that this switch makes sense. Laois can play with some abandon after securing their Division 1 status but Kilkenny will want to ensure their League campaign rolls on after this game.

Verdict: Kilkenny.

Wexford v Carlow, Chadwicks Wexford Park 2pm (C. Cunning, Antrim)

After battles over successive weekends against Kilkenny and Dublin, Wexford can take things down a notch against a Carlow team who are already destined for a relegation play-off. Wexford will still want to win, however.

Verdict: Wexford.

Division 2A

Meath v Mayo, Páirc Tailteann 12.30pm (M. Murtagh, Westmeath)

Mayo have found the going too tough at this level and it appears to be Meath’s turn now to hit them.

Verdict: Meath.

Kerry v Antrim, Austin Stack Park 12.30pm (C. McAllister, Cork)

With the Kerry panel hit by a mumps outbreak, this one looked under threat. And after the Kingdom had put themselves in a fine place to seal a promotion final spot. Antrim’s mood has been mean and it should continue to be.

Verdict: Antrim.

Offaly v Wicklow, Bord na Móna O’Connor Park 12.30pm (A. Kelly, Galway)

Offaly won’t slip up now as they gear themselves up to face Antrim.

Verdict: Offaly.

Division 2B

Warwickshire v London, McGovern Park 1pm (J. Clarke, Cavan)

Both teams in search of their first win but London look the likelier.

Verdict: Warwickshire.

Down v Kildare, McKenna Park, Ballycran 2pm (T. Gleeson, Dublin)

Top-of-the-table clash and Down’s last game which will steel their attitude, but Kildare are doing all the right things at the moment.

Verdict: Kildare.

Roscommon v Derry, Athleague 2pm (R. McGann, Clare)

Not much to suggest Roscommon will arrest Derry’s 100% run.

Verdict: Derry.

Division 3A

Longford v Donegal, Michael Fay Park, Longford Slashers 2pm (R. Fitzsimons, Offaly).

Verdict: Donegal.

Monaghan v Louth, Grattan Park, Inniskeen 2pm (A. Ferguson, Fermanagh).

Verdict: Louth.

Armagh v Tyrone, Athletic Grounds 2pm (J. Connors, Donegal).

Verdict: Armagh.

Division 3B

Cavan v Sligo, Kingspan Breffni Park 12.30pm (K. Jordan, Tipperary).

Verdict: Sligo.

Leitrim v Lancashire, Avantcard Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada 12.30pm (C. McDonald, Antrim).

Verdict: Leitrim.

AIB All-Ireland Camogie Senior Club final, Sarsfields (Galway) v Slaughtneil (Derry), Croke Park 3.30pm (J. Dermody, Westmeath). Live RTÉ

Slaughtneil are looking to achieve four-in-a-row honours. The Derry champions will face familiar opposition in the final. Sarsfields have been impressive in getting to this point, but they’re up against a team whose hunger doesn’t seem to have diminished.

Verdict: Slaughtneil

AIB All-Ireland Camogie Intermediate Club final, St Rynagh’s (Offaly) v Gailltír (Waterford), Croke Park 1.30pm (O. Elliott, Antrim)

St Rynagh’s accounted for Carnmore in their semi-final with a scoreline of 2-13 to 0-13 and Gailltír will be aiming to make up for losing last year’s final to Clonduff. They looked so sharp in their semi-final and they can make amends on this occasion.

Verdict: Gailltír.

Lidl Ladies NFL

Division 1, Round 4

Cork v Mayo, Mallow 2pm (J. Murphy, Carlow). Live LGFA Facebook page

Champions Cork will aim to make it four wins from four in Mallow. Mayo are motoring nicely too, with two wins from three outings, and they will be looking to build on their gritty Round 3 victory over Waterford.

Verdict: Cork.

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