It’s the final weekend of Super 8 games with four teams still vying for the remaining two semi-final places. We preview all the action ahead of a bumper weekend of games.
Kerry v Kildare
Kildare are already of out contention following their two losses to Galway and Monaghan but they could still have a major say in the outcome of the Super 8s. They travel to Killarney without Daniel Flynn who’s appeal against his one-match suspension was unsuccessful. It’s a huge task to face a desperate Kerry team in their own backyard but this is a Kildare team with plenty of pride who will want to play to their full potential.
A win today will not be enough to secure their progression to the semi-final, they also need Galway to beat Monaghan. In that situation, the team to move forward will be decided by scoring difference. Monaghan are five points ahead of Kildare on that score so Eamon Fitzmaurice will be hoping for a comprehensive win in Killarney. David Clifford is in flying form for them but the same cannot be said for Paul Geaney. He will need them all in top form today.
Galway v Monaghan
Galway are safe in the knowledge that they have secured their place in the semi-finals but they haven’t yet claimed top spot. A draw or a win would be enough to ensure that Galway claim top placing, thus avoiding a semi-final clash with Dublin. However if Monaghan can beat Galway, they will move top of the table. Malachy O’Rourke will know that a heavy beating will end their season but should they only lose by a few points, they may still have a chance, depending on the result of the other game between Kildare and Kerry.
Monaghan will know they have the capabilities to beat a Galway team that have underperformed so far this summer. If it wasn’t for their poor shooting, they would have easily beaten Kerry in the last round. Conor McManus is back to his best while goalkeeper, Rory Beggan is in the form of his life. However it will take an extra special effort to beat the Connacht champions.
Donegal v Tyrone
The easiest game of the weekend to understand in terms of progression but probably the hardest to predict. Both teams have recorded a loss against Dublin and a win over Roscommon meaning it is a straight shootout in the final round for a place in the semi-finals. Donegal have home advantage which may prove a huge boost as former Tyrone All-Star, Owen Mulligan described Ballybofey as “hostile”.
On form you would imagine that Tyrone will progress. They have been improving steadily throughout the qualifiers, have a quality squad and almost had the beatings of the Dubs in the last round in Omagh. Yet Donegal are the Ulster champions and Mickey Harte’s men are yet to beat a Division 1 team this summer. Michael Murphy showed his importance to Declan Bonner’s side the last day and he will have a key influence again today. In Tyrone’s packed defence can smother him out of the game, then they have a real chance.
Dublin v Roscommon
This is by far the easiest game of the weekend to predict. There aren’t many teams who can compete with Dublin in Croke Park and you can’t imagine that a deflated and tired Roscommon team will manage it. They have a talented squad with the likes of Enda Smith, Cathal Cregg and the Murtagh brothers but they have nothing left to play for this summer as their two losses in the opening two rounds means they are out of the competition.
It’s likely that this will be a walk in the park for the Dubs and it remains to be seen if Jim Gavin decides to rest some of his star players since they game is a dead-rubber in front of what will be a small crowd at GAA HQ.