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Calling the shots

 

By Declan Bogue

ULSTER MINOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 1

ANTRIM v MONAGHAN

(Saturday, Corrigan

Park, 2.00pm)

In the wake of their opening day defeat to Fermanagh — two Oisin Jackson goals for the Ernemen propelling them to a comfortable victory the first day out — Antrim manager Padraig MacLaibheartaigh has bemoaned a number of factors that may have cost them vital preparation time with his players.

As the competition also finds its feet in a new-look summer, he raised the entirely reasonable point that the lustre of playing minor football will have been completely lost by hosting them as standalone fixtures.

Meanwhile, Monaghan have been hard at work on the training ground under manager Seamus ‘Banty’ McEnaney since their extra-time defeat to Derry. All the indicators point towards a handsome Monaghan win.

VERDICT: Monaghan

JOE McDONAGH CUP

MEATH v ANTRIM

(Saturday, Navan, 2.00pm)

Here is something you might not have considered — over their last four meetings, Meath have beaten Antrim four times.

That’s the sort of thing that could make an Antrim man smart, but they also know they owe their opponents from the two Christy Ring finals of 2016.

They only have five survivors on their team now that remain from that game and with Simon McCrory back, they should make a better fist of this, but without Ciaran Clarke the Antrim attack loses its’ edge.

They also could be doing with the presence of Aaron Graffin in defence, but a hamstring injury has ruled him out.

VERDICT: Meath

CONNACHT SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

NEW YORK v LEITRIM

(Sunday, Gaelic Park,

7.15pm GMT)

They reckon the welcome rolled out for New York in the Championship will only last as long as they keep losing.

Should they win a game, they would throw the Connacht Championship into chaos, with travelling arrangements and a number of players unable to return home.

But with a well-prepared team here, that theory could be soon put to the test.

VERDICT: New York

CONNACHT SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

LONDON v SLIGO

(Sunday, Croke Park, 3.30pm)

A chance here for Sligo to get caught after an underwhelming Division Three campaign brought only two wins.

London have a serious bit of preparation done for this one and will be as ready as they have ever been.

VERDICT: Sligo

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