The Allianz Football League returns this weekend for the penultimate round of games and it could be monikered as ‘Super Saturday’ given that all 16 games are taking place on the same day.
After this weekend, we will have a real sense of who is Croke Park bound at the end of the month and who has to go back to the drawing board ahead of Championship.
Leitrim and Derry come face-to-face in Division 4 in what is essentially a warm-up game for their league final clash, while Meath and Fermanagh face tough away fixtures against Clare and Armagh respectively in order to keep their promotion dreams alive.
Here are your four players to watch in Round Six of the Allianz Football League.
Tommy Walsh (Kerry)
The big man has been reborn this season under Peter Keane.
Walsh played a key role in Kerry’s All-Ireland final win in 2009 before making the switch to St. Kilda in the AFL. Upon his return, Walsh struggled for form and with injuries and was never able to reach the heights he once set.
However, after taking a season or two away from the Kerry set-up, he found his form again with his club, Kerins O’Rahilly’s and was duly asked back into the senior team by new manager, Keane.
Walsh has been instrumental in the last two rounds for Kerry as they maintained their 100 per cent start to the league and you can imagine that with the visit of mayo this week he will be looking to make a mark in his hometown, in front of his own people to officially announce that Tommy Walsh is back in town.
Michael Murphy (Donegal)
Donegal’s leader returned to action two weeks ago in a wind-swept Ballybofey as Donegal got their season back on track with a win over Armagh.
Murphy was sprung from the bench early in that game and was instrumental in their win. Donegal only scored 1-3 from play. Murphy himself scored 1-2 of that and set up the other score, so his presence was most definitely felt.
Donegal sit third in Division 2 and can still get promoted if either Meath or Fermanagh slip up in the final two outings. They travel to Cork knowing that they need to win but also knowing that Cork need a win too in order to survive relegation.
Considering his impact two weeks ago, it’s hard to envisage Murphy not starting tomorrow and if he plays well, you can bet your bottom dollar that Donegal are coming away with two points.
Derek Maguire (Louth)
One of Louth’s key players over the past decade, Maguire returned to the squad a few weeks ago following his club’s run to the All-Ireland semi-final.
The Louth hype-train came off the wagon slightly with defeat to Carlow coming a week after firing five goals past Sligo, however, a win tomorrow over promotion rivals Westmeath would leave them in a great position going into the final round game with Down.
It’s at this stage of the competition where experience is key to getting over the line and Maguire brings a bundle of that with him this weekend. Whether he starts the game or is sprung from the bench, if Maguire has a big game, you can be sure that Wayne Kierans’ side will be going home happy.
Ray Mulvey (Leitrim)
It’s party time in Leitrim after securing the counties first promotion since the 90s.
However, their toughest tie lies ahead of them this weekend when they take on a Derry side who feel they are too good for the division. With both sides set to meet in the final in two weeks time, it’ll be interesting to see what XV is named by both management teams.
Mulvey has been instrumental all season at wing-back, kicking two late points in the win over London to all but ensure promotion. If he is on song this weekend and in two weeks time, then Leitrim are in with a shout.