Last weekend’s football qualifier action saw seven games played with home advantage impacting the result in the majority of the clashes. Here we preview this weekend’s qualifier action.
Taking the Cork v Limerick clash out of the equation due to the fact that it was played at a neutral venue in Thurles, five out of the six home teams that played last weekend won, with Longford’s win in Clones proving the exception.
Clare had a point to spare over Laois in Ennis, while Mayo overcame Fermanagh in Castlebar. Derry and Cavan both had wins in front of home support against Meath and Carlow respectively while in Newbridge, Kildare were helped by home comforts to see off Offaly.
This weekend will see another eight teams in action with four intriguing ties set to be contested.
Sligo v Clare-Markievicz Park
A fantastic opportunity for both sides to further their Championship 2016 adventure. Clare, under manager Colm Collins, have had a fantastic year. The Banner claimed Division 3 league honours before defeating Laois by a point in Ennis last weekend.
Sligo greatly disappointed in their second half showing against Roscommon in Connacht, eventually losing 4-16 to 2-13 before bouncing back to beat Leitrim on a score line of 2-15 to 0-10 at Markievicz Park.
Sligo have had an added week’s rest heading in to this weekend’s clash but the momentum is all with Clare. Although with home advantage, The Yeats County will be up against it facing a Garry Brennan inspired Clare side.
Mayo v Kildare-Elvery’s McHale Park, Castlebar
Mayo were tested last Saturday as Fermanagh gave Stephen Rochford’s men a right battle in Castlebar. This weekend, the venue is the same but Kildare are the opponents.
Cian O’Neill’s men disappointed in their provincial loss to Westmeath. Having overcome Offaly last weekend in Newbridge, Kildare will know that this Saturday’s clash will be another step up
Mayo have been lacklustre in their championship games so far and will look to give a more complete performance this weekend. However, the qualifiers can be a great momentum builder and expect Mayo to continue building this weekend.
Longford v Cork-Glennon Brothers Pearse Park
Saturday’s tie will be the first championship clash between the two sides. The odds are against the home side here, but they have proven once again this year that they are the best in the business for qualifier shocks.
Longford will look for a repeat performance of last Saturday’s memorable championship win in Clones. The influential Robbie Smyth and Mikey Quinn will look to continue their impressive form when Cork come to town.
It is difficult to know exactly where Cork are at under Peadar Healy but Saturday will be a big test for the Rebels. A test that they should overcome, but expect a tight battle.
Cavan v Derry-Breffni Park
An all Ulster clash and arguably the biggest qualifier clash this weekend will see Derry travel to Breffni Park to face Terry Hyland’s Cavan side.
Derry impressed in seeing off Meath at Owenbeg last weekend with James Kielt and Mark Lynch to the fore. However, the Oak Leaf County will be looking to increase the tempo and intensity to match Cavan this weekend.
Coming off the back of a win against Carlow last week, Cavan look to have recovered from the concession of five goals in the Ulster semi-final replay defeat to Tyrone. With a flowing attack and the dangerous David Givney at the edge of the square, Cavan should have enough to see off their Ulster rivals.
Seán Ó Murchú, Pundit Arena