Preview of the penultimate weekend’s GAA action.
There are 15 games taking place this weekend as the Allianz National Football League round-robin reaches is conclusion.
The vast majority of GAA games have something at stake and we preview all of the 15 matches set to take place.
Allianz National Football League Division 1 North.
Armagh vs Donegal, Athletic Grounds, Armagh, 7:30pm (Maurice Deegan, Laois), Eir Sport.
Armagh will avoid relegation if they win this game and will be in the league semi-finals. A win or draw will do Donegal here. Donegal did not defend well against Monaghan, conceding four goals and it could have been more. There should be 500 fans present at this encounter.
Donegal comfortably defeated Armagh in last year’s Ulster Championships semi-final. They battled hard to secure a draw and came back superbly. Armagh on the other hand played well against Tyrone but lost a few key players to injury. Donegal might just have enough for them and should see themselves into a league semi-final.
Tyrone vs Monaghan, Healy Park, Omagh, 7:30pm (David Coldrick, Meath), GAAGO.
Monaghan need a win to have any chance of avoiding a relegation play-off, while Tyrone will be safe if they win this match. Tyrone have some very good forwards within their ranks and produced an exciting performance against Armagh last time out.
Monaghan will wonder how they didn’t beat Donegal and they’ve won just two of their past 11 games. This will be another game played in front of 500 spectators.
Darren McCurry was very good for Tyrone last week. It was their first victory of the post-Mickey Harte era. They’ll hope for similar performance levels on Saturday evening and they should just have too much for Monaghan on this occasion.
Allianz National Football League Division 3 North.
Cavan vs Derry, Kingspan Breffni Park, Cavan, 3pm (Padraig Hughes, Armagh), TG4.
Derry have made an excellent start to the league, winning their first two games by a combined total of 35 points. Cavan bounced back well against Longford after a disastrous opener against Fermanagh.
Derry’s positive scoring difference all but assures them of a place in the semi-finals. Cavan need to win this game to avoid relegation on the other hand, and reach a promotion play-off
Cavan are Ulster champions, though Derry will want to consolidate their position as top of the group, which would theoretically give Rory Gallagher’s side an easier promotion play-off.
Fermanagh vs Longford, Brewster Park, Enniskillen (Liam Devenney, Mayo), GAAGO.
This should be the first inter-county GAA game played in front of spectators since March 8 2020.
Longford can still mathematically avoid a relegation play-off but is highly unlikely due to their negative scoring difference.
Fermanagh have a chance of reaching a promotion play-off if they win this game and Cavan fail to beat Derry.
Eoin Donnelly went off injured for Ryan McMenamin’s side last week and they would love to have their key midfielder available for this match. They will be very disappointed if they don’t come out on top in this encounter.
Maybe Arlene Foster will get to see her second ever Fermanagh game!
Allianz National Football League Division 3 South.
Offaly vs Tipperary, O’Connor Park, Tullamore, 3pm (James Bermingham, Cork), GAAGO.
Tipperary got their season back on track with a win over Wicklow last week and need to produce another victory if they are to reach a promotion play-off. Offaly on the other hand have won their opening two games and have a real opportunity to play in Division 2 for the first time since the new format came into place in 2008.
Tipperary are reigning Munster champions so it would be disastrous for them to play in Division 4. Tipperary still have a few players injured and Offaly’s winning momentum might be enough to steer them over the line.
Wicklow vs Limerick, Joule Park, Aughrim, 3pm (Niall McKenna, Monaghan), GAAGO.
Wicklow are playing Division 3 football for the first time since 2013. They’ve not won either game but they certainly haven’t disgraced themselves and have an outside chance of avoiding relegation if they win this game.
Davy Burke won an All-Ireland title with Kildare Under-20s in 2018 and a Kildare Senior Football Championship with Sarsfields in 2019.
He’s a highly regarded coach and he got Wicklow promoted at the first time of asking in 2020. They suffered a heavy defeat against Limerick in last year’s league. Limerick have put in good performances in their last five games and would fancy their chances here.
If they win this they’re very likely to be in a promotion play-off. They’re another side that hasn’t played in Division 2 since the new system came into place.
Allianz National Football League Division 4 South.
Carlow vs Wexford, Netwatch Cullen Park, Carlow, 5pm (Fergal Smyth, Offaly), GAAGO.
The only group in the Allianz National Football League featuring just three teams.
This game is one that is black and white. If Wexford win they’re in a promotion play-off. If they lose or draw they’re not.
Carlow are in a semi-final unless they lose by over 30 points, which is highly unlikely. Carlow should win this with a bit to spare.
Allianz National Football League Division 1 South.
Roscommon vs Kerry, Dr. Hyde Park, Roscommon, 3:45pm (Joe McQuillan, Cavan), TG4 app.
This is a game Roscommon could do without. They’ve lost their last three games against Mayo, Dublin and Galway respectively and will be doing very well to get anything out of this game.
Kerry look like a side on a mission and have scored 5-39 in their opening two games. Roscommon are guaranteed to be in a relegation play-off so may opt to rest a few players.
Kerry are all but assured of a semi-final place – it would take a freak series of results for them to miss out. This is very much a dead-rubber game, though Kerry will want to keep up their positive momentum. One of the easier weekend GAA games to preview.
Galway vs Dublin, Tuam Stadium, 3:45pm (Brendan Cawley, Kildare), TG4.
There is a fair bit at stake here. If Galway win they will be in the league semi-finals and avoid relegation. That may be a small bit ambitious, but they would have taken this position after the drubbing they received against Kerry in their opening tie.
Padraic Joyce wants to win and wants Galway to be at the top. They certainly won’t fear Dublin. Dublin have had two good performances and should secure their semi-final spot here, making it ten games unbeaten in the process.
Allianz National Football League Division 2 North.
Mayo vs Meath, Elverys MacHale Park, Castlebar, 1:45pm (Martin McNally, Monaghan), GAAGO.
The only thing at stake here is who finishes top of the group, as both Mayo and Meath are assured of a spot in the promotion play-offs. Meath played very well against Down and are unbeaten in five of their last six games.
Mayo have won six of their past seven games and are scoring freely at the moment. They might have too much for an improving Meath side, but it will be very close.
Westmeath vs Down, TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar, 1:45pm (Sean Lonergan, Tipperary) GAAGO.
Westmeath have lost their last four games but they are definitely a county making progress. They’ve lost their lost two games against Meath and Mayo by a combined total of four points, which is no disgrace.
Both of these teams are assured of a place in the relegation play-off and it will be a question of who gets the easier game to determine their safety.
Down have lost their last three games so Westmeath should have too much for them.
Allianz National Football League Division 2 South.
Laois vs Kildare, MW Hire O’Moore Park, Portlaoise, 1.45pm (Paul Faloon, Down), GAAGO.
Laois have lost their last three games with a combined losing margin of 37 points. Kildare beat them in last year’s league and will be very disappointed if they don’t do so again.
If Kildare win this match, they’ve a chance of reaching the promotion play-offs. They should be too strong for Laois.
Clare vs Cork, Cusack Park, Ennis, 1.45pm (Derek O’Mahoney, Tipperary), TG4.
Colm Collins has had no luck as manager of Clare yet he never complains. He puts up with all of the issues confronting him and normally comes out stronger. After two wins in their first two games, they are still not assured of a place in the promotion play-offs.
Cork bounced back very well against Laois last week and Luke Connolly is a massive addition to Ronan McCarthy’s side. They need to win by seven points or more to overtake Clare, though a one-point win might be enough to reach the promotion decider if other results go their way.
Cork will edge a close encounter.
Allianz National Football League Division 4 North.
Antrim vs Leitrim, Corrigan Park, Belfast, 3pm (Kevin Faloon, Armagh), GAAGO.
This is a dead-rubber game as Antrim are assured of a place in the promotion play-off while Leitrim are out of contention. Antrim should pick up their fourth victory in five matches.
Louth vs Sligo, Geraldines GFC, Dundalk, 3pm (Sean Laverty, Antrim), GAAGO.
This has potential to be a very good game of football. Mickey Harte is up against Tony McEntee, bringing out the Tyrone vs Armagh rivalry that was huge in the noughties.
Both sides played relatively well in their opening two games and the losers will be very disappointed to lose out on promotion. Louth may just be too strong, though there will be nothing in it. A draw will be enough for Louth.