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Calling the Shots

By Declan Bogue

All-Ireland Football Qualifiers Round 2A

Fermanagh v Antrim (Tomorrow, Brewster Park, 3pm)

Second time around for these two as they face off with two very different results in their last game.

Antrim come into this game with the boost of having knocked out Laois, which appeared a sensational result at the time, but perhaps tempered by departures and events since.

They have Kieran and CJ McGourty back available for selection after being dropped for playing a club hurling match the night before, while Fermanagh are missing their defensive organiser Ryan McCluskey to a one-game suspension following his sending off against Monaghan in the Ulster semi-final.

Fermanagh should justify their favourites’ tag, though it is a tricky one for them.

Verdict: Fermanagh

Cavan v Roscommon (Today, Kingspan Breffni Park, 5pm)

Roscommon are marginal favourites for this one, with Roscommon having an awful lot to prove after their limp showing in the Connacht semi-final defeat to Sligo; not exactly the best way of demonstrating manager John Evan’s view that they will be serious All-Ireland contenders in the coming years.

Cavan's confidence is up after a routing of London and they will feel they owe the Rossies one after a bad defeat in last year’s qualifiers. With Rory Dunne, Killian Clarke and Martin Dunne all fit again, that should happen.

Verdict: Cavan

Offaly v Kildare (Today, O'Connor Park, 2pm)

Kildare will be playing football in the same level as Offaly in next year’s National League, but back in January the Lilywhites would have thought themselves light years ahead of their Leinster rivals.

Kildare’s win over Laois after a replay had the gloss taken off dramatically by a severe mauling by Dublin last weekend and Jason Ryan’s side had a number of player defections since.

They will do well to arrest the slide here.

Verdict: Kildare

Clare v Longford (Today, Cusack Park Ennis, 5pm)

The home side narrowly lost out on promotion this year and have suffered the further disappointment of losing star forward Podge Collins to a cruciate injury.

Longford should take advantage of the reduced circumstances.

Verdict: Longford

Munster Football Final

Kerry v Cork (Tomorrow, Killarney, 2pm)

If skin, hair and teeth are not flying in Killarney after all the preliminaries conclude, then this great rivalry is not what it once was.  Expect Cork to not be as exposed tactically as they were in last year’s final, and for the Rebels to turn it as dour as possible. Kerry have been brave by keeping Colm Cooper out of the starting fray, but his introduction could be a game-changer in the final third.

Verdict: Kerry

Leinster Hurling Final

Kilkenny v Galway (Tomorrow, Croke Park, 4pm)

Warm favourites to win here, Galway have displayed too much of their old schizophrenic tendencies to truly trust in a game of this magnitude.

Old faces come and go, but the insistence of excellence is exemplified by the form of Ger Aylward, the latest sensation in black and amber.

Brian Cody will also be keenly aware of the humiliation visited upon his side back in 2012 and they don’t tend to get caught out twice.

Verdict: Kilkenny

All-Ireland Hurling Qualifiers

Clare v Offaly (Today, Cusack Park, Ennis, 7pm)

A handy one here at home for Davy Fitzgerald to get the Clare show back on the road, and with Colm Galvin returning to the panel, an opportunity to blood him back into the Championship away from microscopic scrutiny.

Verdict: Clare

Laois v Dublin (Today, Portlaoise, 7pm)

Laois will feel confident that they might eke out a result here, or at the very least a serious performance. That might be the height of it.

Verdict: Dublin

Wexford v Cork (Today, Innovate Wexford Park, 7pm)

On one hand, this is exactly the kind of game that Liam Dunne would have wanted for his emerging Wexford side. On the other, Cork have too much to prove to leave this behind them. 

Verdict: Cork

Westmeath v Limerick (Tomorrow, Cusack Park Mullingar, 2pm)

Limerick to win handy, nothing more needs to be said.

Verdict: Limerick

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