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Calling the shots

By Declan Bogue

ULSTER SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

DOWN v DONEGAL

(Sunday, Clones, 4.00pm)

The chance to make what many would see as a serious chance in an Ulster final, with Fermanagh waiting in the wings, is at stake this Sunday in Clones.

Donegal are in line to progress, unless Down can throw something at them to disrupt their flow.

However, Declan Bonner has done a good job so far with them and as Down have been losing talented forwards from their panel, they appear light on attacking threat.

VERDICT: Donegal

ALL-IRELAND QUALIFIERS ROUND ONE

MEATH v TYRONE

(Saturday, Navan, 5.00pm)

The collatoral damage from the defeat to Monaghan in Ulster will have been painful to those in the Tyrone squad, and with a raft of injuries, there has been a call up for Dromore attacker Ruairi Sludden, who dropped off the panel in 2015 when the under-21s won the All-Ireland.

The chances of them altering much are slim, but they will negotiate their way through to the Super 8s following a stiff test here.

VERDICT: Tyrone

DERRY v KILDARE

(Saturday, Owenbeg, 3.00pm)

Derry are a transformed animal from their league campaign and they could be a side to look out for over the next couple of rounds.

Kildare appear to have serious problems lying deep in the heart of the squad and could be vulnerable in this venue.

VERDICT: Derry

WESTMEATH v ARMAGH

(Saturday, Mullingar, 7.00pm)

Last year it took a late goal from Ethan Rafferty to win for Armagh after spending most of the game looking like a side that desperately wanted to lose.

There is little evidence they have progressed since, so the only hope comes with Westmeath’s own desperate form.

VERDICT: Armagh

OFFALY v ANTRIM

(Saturday, Tullamore, 6.00pm)

The home side are looking to lift some of the gloom around Offaly GAA at present, while Antrim are seeking to extend their season and make some of the hard work pay off. This has been a good ground for Antrim teams in the past.

VERDICT: Antrim

WICKLOW v CAVAN

(Saturday, Aughrim, 6.00pm)

Given Cavan’s progress back up to Division One in the spring, this game should be seen as a gimme. Doesn’t always work out like that, but all the same...

VERDICT: Cavan

JOE McDONAGH CUP

ANTRIM v KERRY

(Saturday, Cushendall, 3.00pm)

Although Antrim have produced gutsy, honest performances all year long, their fate is not really in their hands in the final round of Joe McDonagh Cup fixtures.

They need to beat Kerry, who have been gifted another bit of a spin on up to Cushendall, and hope Westmeath beat Carlow to gain a place in the decider.

Both outcomes are very much possible.

VERDICT: Antrim

CHRISTY RING CUP

DERRY v KILDARE

(Sunday, Inniskeen, 4.00pm)

Cormac O’Doherty’s scoring miracle last week — amassing 1-17 in Derry’s dramatic win over Down has already gone down in legend. Kildare could prove to be a bridge too far, having won two and drawn one of their meetings in the last five years.

VERDICT: Down

NICKY RACKARD CUP

TYRONE v WARWICKSHIRE

(Saturday, Dowdallshill, 1.00pm)

After winning the Lory Meagher Cup last year, Warwickshire have now gone 15 games unbeaten by muscling past Longford in the last round to make it to this semi-final.

With Antrim’s Niall McKenna  in attack, they could make it back to Croke Park again.

VERDICT: Warwickshire

DONEGAL v MONAGHAN

(Saturday, Owenbeg, 1.00pm)

There’s always little to pick from these two, but the introduction of Eamonn Collins, a Cork man living in Monaghan who spearheads their attack, is a positive. However, Donegal are better placed to progress. 

VERDICT: Donegal

LORY MEAGHER CUP

FERMANAGH v LANCASHIRE

(Saturday, Brewster Park, 1.00pm)

It’s up to Sean Duffy’s men to claim their place in the Lory Meagher final, and they can join Sligo there with a decent win here at home. 

VERDICT: Fermanagh

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