Calling the shots
TYRONE v MAYO
(Sunday, Healy Park, 2.30pm)
Already a whiff of ‘must-win’ off this, Mickey Harte rolls the dice and puts in Lee Brennan into an attack that failed to get on the board against Kerry for the opening 50 minutes.
The odd thing is that Tyrone managed to beat Mayo comfortably on the road last year, while Mayo have won at this ground in recent years, including 2017. Whoever gets their attack functioning better will take the spoils.
CAVAN v KERRY
(Sunday, Kingspan Breffni, 2.00pm)
The locals will come with a fascination to see just how Peter Keane has altered this Kerry team and just how good Sean O’Shea really is after his exhibition of striking in Killarney last week against Tyrone, especially one sweetly-struck sideline ball that curled over the bar.
The confidence that Cavan carried into their first game against Galway was punctured by indiscipline. This could be a tough day out for them.
ROSCOMMON v MONAGHAN
(Sunday, Dr Hyde Park, 2.30pm)
You could see the beginnings of what new Roscommon manager Anthony Cunningham is trying to do with his team with the way in which they set up defensively against Mayo last weekend. Clearly, Roscommon have learned that games such as Armagh in Portlaoise are wonderful, but they are not ‘winning’ football.
Monaghan will be riding high on last week’s win over Dublin and should pick up the points on their travels, with key attackers working their way back to full fitness.
ARMAGH v CLARE
(Sunday, Pairc Esler, 2.00pm)
A repeat of last year’s qualifier game in the Athletic Grounds where Armagh came with a late burst to snatch the victory from the jaws of defeat.
They are in better shape now with a deeper panel and should take advantage of their temporary residence of a little corner of Newry that is sort of Armagh.
TIPPERARY v FERMANAGH
(Sunday, Semple Stadium, 2.00pm)
Fermanagh desperately need to find a target man that they can hit with early ball and get Sean Quigley back into the kind of health that he can kick frees off the ground. All that said, they could surprise a few here.
DONEGAL v MEATH
(Saturday, Ballybofey, 7.00pm)
Andy McEntee has big ambitions for this group of Meath players and promotion to the top tier is one of them. They took care of Tipperary and only for Conor Sweeney’s excellence from the dead ball the margin would have been much greater in the end.
It’s been a desperate week for Donegal as a county after the four road deaths last Sunday and funerals midweek. It seems ill-fitting to think of football at these times, but that is how they will respect the dead in Ballybofey.
SLIGO v DOWN
(Sunday, Collooney, 2.00pm)
It’s a battle between the two sides at the bottom of the third tier. Down fell to a heavy defeat to Laois at Newry, while Sligo fell by double scores to Carlow in round one.
The panel Paddy Tally is working with is a callow one and there could be more days of pain ahead, but Sligo don’t possess enough quality right now to make that a sure thing.
DERRY v LONDON
(Sunday, Ballinascreen, 12.30pm)
Weather is playing havoc with this fixture and the last word on Friday evening was that it would be hosted in Ballinacreen as Celtic Park and Owenbeg were under a layer of snow.
The narrow win over Antrim will serve to remind Derry that they will get nothing handy at this level and that a win here will be earned.
WEXFORD v ANTRIM
(Sunday, Wexford Park, 2.00pm)
Very unlucky not to get more out of their league opener against Derry last weekend in Corrigan Park, Lenny Harbinson’s men definitely have the measure of a disappointing Wexford side that fell to a heavy defeat to Leitrim last Sunday.
MEATH v ANTRIM
(Sunday, Navan, 2.00pm)
Impossible to know where these sides are at for now, with an inexperienced Antrim side putting up a decent showing against Kerry in the opening round, though they fell to defeat.