John Campbell's GAA predictions
John Campbell has a look at this weekend's games
Christy Ring Hurling Cup
Kerry v Down (Tralee 3.30)
DOWN enjoyed a useful boost last week-end when they needed it most and manager Jim McKernan is naturally hopeful that his side can now make it back-to-back wins. The influence of Gareth ‘Magic’ Johnston, the solidity of their defence and their renewed enthusiasm could carry Down further along the route in this competition.
Verdict: Down to win by four points
Derry v Wicklow
NOT many visiting sides relish the prospect of making the long haul to Swatragh and Wicklow are no different to anyone else. Yet they are invariably tenacious opponents and Oak Leaf manager Brian McGilligan is well aware of the threat they could pose to his team’s hopes of making headway. But Derry’s defence may have the last say.
Verdict: Derry to win by four points
Ulster Senior Football
Fermanagh v Down
THIS could prove an appetising opener to the Ulster series given that both sides feel they have a big point to make. Fermanagh are keen to go one further than last year when they reached the decider only to lose to Armagh while Down believe they have under-achieved in a Championship context of late.
The Ernesiders were relegated in the National League and have not quite managed to replicate the form they showed last summer. Down may not be the essence of consistency but they would appear to be sharper, more cohesive up front and this could ultimately take them into a quarter-final meeting with Cavan.
Verdict: Down to win by three points
Ulster Minor Football
Fermanagh v Down
BOTH teams will be backboned by a plethora of Ulster Colleges players but Down’s advances in the under-age sectors generally may continue here. Fermanagh boast several talented individuals although their overall teamwork may not be quite as smooth as that of their opponents.
Verdict: Down to win by two points
Ulster Senior Hurling
Donegal v Armagh
ARMAGH cruised to a comfortable victory over Monaghan last week-end without their ace marksman Declan Coulter and, although Donegal overcame Tyrone, the Orchard County’s greater potency up front should serve them well again.
Verdict: Armagh to win by five points
Leinster Senior Football Championship
Carlow v Louth
(Parnell Park 3.30)
THIS is a big assignment for Louth manager Eamon McEnaney, the former Monaghan forward who has yet to see the Wee County make a real impact in Leinster. Carlow are among the province’s minnows but Wicklow upset the applecart last year when they beat Kildare and McEnaney won’t want to be left with egg on his face this time. His team might just prevail, tho ugh.
Verdict: Louth to win by two points