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GAA match predictions

By John Campbell

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TOMORROW

All Ireland Football Championship quarter-finals

Kerry v Down

(Croke Park 2pm)

IT’S the reigning champions against a Down side anxious to lay down an even more emphatic marker that promotion to Division One of the National League is not to be their only accolade this year. James McCartan’s men have claimed three qualifier scalps on the bounce and confront the Kingdom with their confidence intact and their aspirations high.

Kerry may not quite exude the poise and authority they have done in the recent past due in no small measure to the exodus of marquee names but they still retain the teamwork, inherent belief and swagger that have become their hallmarks. Unless the Down defence plays above and beyond the call of duty – and manages to keep the concession of frees to a minimum – it could be the end of the road for them.

Verdict: Kerry to win by two points

Ladbrokes odds: Kerry 3/10, draw 9/1, Down 10/3

Dublin v Tyrone

(Croke Park 4pm)

THEY may have conceded the Leinster title to Meath but the Dubs have since reclaimed their pride with qualifier wins over Armagh and Louth. In the process manager Pat Gilroy has discovered that he has some exciting selection options at his disposal – and he will certainly need them against a Tyrone side bursting with energy following their back-to-back provincial title triumphs.

On the twin scores of experience and strategy Tyrone would appear to hold the ace cards although their defence has looked vulnerable on occasions to date but not to the extent that their Championship copybook was in danger of being blotted. Such is their cohesion, ability to recycle break ball and strength on the bench that their passport into the semi-finals should be firmly stamped.

Verdict: Tyrone to win by four points

Ladbrokes odds: Tyrone 4/9, draw 15/2, Dublin 5/2

All Ireland Minor Football Championship quarter-finals

Tyrone v Kerry

(Croke Park 12pm)

TYRONE showed considerable style and skill in lifting the Ulster title at the expense of Armagh and although beaten Munster finalists Kerry boast a host of talented colleges’ players it is likely that the Red Hands will carry too much scoring power for them.

Verdict: Tyrone to win by two points

Mayo v Offaly

(Dr Hyde Park, Roscommon 12.30pm)

MAYO came close to winning the All Ireland title last year and their belief that they missed the boat on that occasion should act as the spur that will take them past Offaly.

Verdict: Mayo to win by four points

Longford v Galway

(Dr Hyde Park, Roscommon 2pm)

LEINSTER champions Longford certainly cocked a snook at the formbook and even though Galway looked lively in Connacht the midlanders look capable of maintaining their recent run of impressive form to reach the last four.

Verdict: Longford to win by two points

SUNDAY

All Ireland Football Championship quarter-finals

Roscommon v Cork

(Croke Park 2pm)

CONNACHT champions Roscommon may be viewed as a surprise entry in the last eight but Cork, still favourites in the eyes of many to lift ‘Sam’ despite that below-par display against Limerick last Saturday, will do well to treat them with the utmost respect. The westerners tend to be viewed as a one-trick pony because of Donie Shine’s scoring exploits but they are a strong, physical side who work hard for each other and possess a high level of stamina.

Cork lost the Munster semi-final to Kerry after a replay and suffer lapses in concentration during games. If they keep their focus and link together better up front than they did last weekend then expect them to make it into the last four.

Verdict: Cork to win by five points

Ladbrokes odds: Roscommon 15/2, draw 11/1, Cork 1/9

Meath v Kildare

(Croke Park 4pm)

THE Royal County will emerge from the fog of controversy that accompanied their now infamous win over Louth in the Leinster final to take on Kieran McGeeney’s troops who have worked diligently in the trenches in carving out qualifier wins over Antrim, Leitrim, Derry and Monaghan. If anything, the Lily Whites have grown in confidence and composure, fortified by the fact that different players are stepping up to the plate on different days to conduct the scoring symphony. While Meath will be tough and aggressive at the back and lively up front where Joe Sheridan and Stephen Bray will seek to impose themselves, Kildare’s overall machinery at full throttle may make them unstoppable.

Verdict: Kildare to win by three points

All Ireland Minor Football Championship quarter-final

Armagh v Cork

(Croke Park 12pm)

THEY may have slumped to their biggest defeat in a long time against Tyrone in the Ulster final but Armagh get the chance to redeem themselves against a Cork team that have looked particularly menacing of late in lifting the Munster crown. The absence of skipper Peter Carragher did not help Armagh’s chances against the Red Hands but if manager Paul McShane can deal from a full hand this time out then his side have a great chance of reclaiming credibility but it will be tough going for them.

Verdict: Cork to win by four points

Ladbrokes odds: Meath 21/20, draw 15/2, Kildare 21/20

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