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Calling the shots

 

By Declan Bogue

ALL-IRELAND CLUB HURLING SEMI-FINAL

SLAUGHTNEIL v NA PIARSAIGH

(Saturday, Parnell Park, 7.30pm)

In winning their third Munster title in five years prior to Christmas, Limerick’s Na Piarsaigh stamped their authority on Waterford’s Ballygunnar once again and underlined their credentials to take a second All-Ireland title in three years.

Slaughtneil manager Michael McShane had promised his charges would get all the hurling they would need to prepare for this, but the air might be a little too thin for them at the altitude in which Na Piarsaigh operate.

VERDICT: Na Piarsaigh

ALLIANZ DIVISION ONE

Dublin v DONEGAL

(Saturday, Croke Park, 7.00pm)

After watching them blow Tyrone away in their exhaust fumes last week, especially after they only reconvened the week of their first league win over Kildare, Dublin are now winning what might be tight games on muscle memory.

Donegal always relish playing in Croke Park, but this will be too much for them again.

VERDICT: Dublin

ALLIANZ DIVISION ONE

KILDARE v TYRONE

(Sunday, Newbridge, 2.00pm)

Two teams propping up the bottom of the top flight, with an expected loss to Dublin each and an unexpected one in Galway (Tyrone) and Monaghan (Kildare).

Both badly need the points, but Tyrone’s greater experience as a unit should get them out of trouble here.

VERDICT: Tyrone

ALLIANZ DIVISION ONE

MONAGHAN v KERRY

(Sunday, Inniskeen,

2.00pm)

Kerry head into this game with two wins, over Donegal and Mayo to their credit and with a flood of young talent in the team right now.

It’s a good time to be a Kerry footballer and an exciting era beckons. Monaghan will give them their fill of it, especially in a venue such as Inniskeen.

VERDICT: Kerry

ALLIANZ DIVISION TWO

CAVAN v MEATH

(Saturday, Breffni Park, 7.00pm)

A traditional battle between two former power-houses of the game lies in store, with the usual border county tests of strength (pulling and dragging to you and me) in store.

Meath could take the points here, coming in as the form team with an impressive win over Clare.

VERDICT: Meath

ALLIANZ DIVISION TWO

ROSCOMMON v DOWN

(Sunday, Dr Hyde Park, 2.00pm)

Roscommon put together a fine comeback to defeat Tipperary, another side with high aspirations.

Right now, the Connacht champions have too much for a Down team that are not convincing too many.

VERDICT: Roscommon

ALLIANZ DIVISION THREE

DERRY v OFFALY

(Sunday, Celtic Park, 2.00pm)

With no wins from two games, the last being a heavy defeat to Longford, the expectation lies heavy with Derry at this point.

Oak Leafers manager Damian McErlain should get his first points this weekend at home.

VERDICT: Derry

ALLIANZ DIVISION THREE

ARMAGH v LONGFORD

(Sunday, Athletic Grounds, 2.00pm)

Two teams that have beat all in front of them so far, and Armagh are making light of the absences of what were thought to be key attackers. 2-17 in their first two games does not lie however, and on the week that Jamie Clarke declared he would play for New York this summer, Armagh are not missing him.

VERDICT: Armagh

ALLIANZ DIVISION THREE

SLIGO v FERMANAGH

(Sunday, Markievicz Park, 2.00pm)

A short trip to Sligo for Rory Gallagher’s men, who also won a Sigerson Cup with the local IT college some years ago.

Fermanagh have got off to an encouraging start and while the football hasn’t been exactly Champagne vintage, there can be no doubt it is extremely effective, not least in the defence where Gallagher and Ryan McMenamin have concentrated.

VERDICT: Fermanagh

ALLIANZ DIVISION FOUR

ANTRIM v WICKLOW

(Sunday, Corrigan Park,

2.00pm)

Lenny Harbinson’s men are too well organised for Wicklow and should maintain their flawless record to date, along with their clean sheet shutouts.

VERDICT: Antrim

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