Kieran Donaghy and Peter Canavan predict the provincial championships

Kieran Donaghy

Kieran Donaghy and Peter Canavan have given their predictions for this year’s Gaelic football provincial championships.

The provincial championships will again have increased importance placed on them this year, as only the winners of each will progress to the All-Ireland semi-finals.

Former Kerry star Donaghy and former Tyrone captain Canavan were speaking to Sky Sports ahead of the four provincial championships kicking off this weekend, and predicted a couple of surprising results.

Kieran Donaghy backs Galway to claim the Connacht title.

Mayo are the reigning Connacht champions, having beaten Galway in the decider last year.

However, Donaghy believes the Tribesmen will gain revenge on their local rivals this year, despite being relegated from Division 1 of the Allianz League.

“Mayo have an easier ride into that Connacht final, and I think Galway could come into that with a harder-fought win and really rev it up,” Donaghy said.

“All will be forgiven for being relegated to Division 2 if they can win that Connacht Championship. So I think they have a huge carrot and that’s why I’d give them a slight edge, how wounded they are and how sore they are after that defeat.”

Peter Canavan expects ‘dark horses’ Monaghan will become Ulster kingpins.

Very few would have predicted that Cavan would win last year’s Ulster championship, after the Breifne County claimed a stunning win against Donegal in the final.

While a win for Monaghan this time around wouldn’t be as surprising, both Donegal and Canavan’s Tyrone would be fancied ahead of them, but the two-time All-Ireland winner is expecting big things of the Farney Army.

“They have a number of younger players coming through, they have Conor McManus leading the charge up front. So Banty (Seamus McEnaney) is starting to get a kick out of them,” Canavan commented.

“If I was a betting man, I would be putting a few pounds on Monaghan. Monaghan are the dark horses.”

No surprises in Leinster and Munster.

The brave predictions came to an end when the two men got around to the Leinster and Munster championships, as Dublin and Kerry were backed by Canavan and Donaghy to seal their places in the All-Ireland semi-finals.

Kerry were of course dumped out of the Munster championship in the first round by Cork last year, before the Rebels were then stunned by Tipperary in the final.

Donaghy expects Kerry to establish themselves as Munster champions, after sharing the Division 1 Allianz League title with Dublin.

“You would expect them to be clued in, and determined not to let what happened last year [happen again]. I feel the other teams in Munster will feel the brunt of that this year,” Donaghy said.

Canavan stated that the Leinster championship would once again be “one-way traffic”, backing Dublin to win their 11th consecutive provincial title.

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