Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

John Campbell’s GAA predictions

John Campbell plays pick the score

TOMORROW

Ulster Senior Hurling Championship Second Round London v Fermanagh (Ruislip 1.30)

Fermanagh will hope to take a leaf from the book of their footballing brethren and make progress in their Ulster series but London, a side laced with players who have useful experience of championship hurling at different levels, will not be easily discommoded at home. The Ernesiders may play second fiddle in this one.

Verdict: London to win by five points

Christy Ring Hurling Cup

Derry v Kerry (Mullingar 3.30)

Derry stepped up to the mark against Wicklow last weekend but will need to find another gear against a Kerry side that ran Down very close. Shane Brick poses the biggest threat to the Oak Leaf side’s hopes of making it into the semi-finals.

Verdict: Derry to win by four points

SUNDAY

Ulster Senior Football |Championship

Derry v Monaghan |(Celtic Park 4.00)

Derry are afforded a golden opportunity to avenge their recent Championship setbacks at the hands of Monaghan in this meeting. For Oak Leaf boss, Damian Cassidy it’s his first game in charge in the Ulster series and he has made it clear that success is his goal. But Farney manager Seamus McEnaney is no less dedicated to the pursuit of glory for his side and this could prove to be one of the best matches in the Ulster Championship overall.

Verdict: Derry to win by two points

Ulster Minor Football |Championship

Derry v Monaghan

(Celtic Park 12.00)

Both teams will be under-strength for this clash. Derry perhaps showed a little more consistency in the recent Ulster Minor League and may be able to maximise their home advantage.

Verdict: Derry to win by four points

Connacht Senior Football |Championship

London v Galway

(Ruislip 3.00)

It will be the shock of the century if Galway, among the short-odds favourites to lift the All Ireland crown never mind their provincial accolade, lose this one. They will have too much power and panache for their hosts, I feel.

Verdict: Galway to win by two points

Leinster Senior Football |Championship

Longford v Wicklow

(Portlaoise 2.00)

Last year Wicklow stunned Kildare and they may have too much up front for an indifferent Longford side this time round. The Garden County could bloom here.

Verdict: Wicklow to win by two points

Kildare v Offaly

(Portlaoise 4.00)

Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney is under pressure to deliver in Leinster and should start with a win over an Offaly side that tended to blow hot and cold during the National League. But the Lily Whites will nonetheless require to watch their step as Offaly have some skillful individuals in their line-up.

Verdict: Kildare to win by four points

Munster Senior Football |Championship

Cork v Waterford

(Dungarvan 3.30)

Waterford may have shown signs of improvement lately but the Leesiders will carry too much power and conviction for them. Besides, the carrot of reaching a semi-final meeting with great rivals Kerry will be more than enough to spur Cork.

Verdict: Cork to win by six points

Limerick v Tipperary

(Semple Stadium, Thurles 3.30)

Tipperary certainly put the cat among the pigeons when they overcame Down to win Division Three of the National League. Yet Limerick stunned fancied Meath in the All Ireland Qualifiers last year. So who has made most progress in the interim? I’ll stick with Tipp and their personable manager John Evans to deliver again.

Verdict: Tipperary to win by three points