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Calling the shots

 

By Declan Bogue

NFL DIVISION ONE

TYRONE v MONAGHAN

(Today, Healy Park, 7pm)

Two teams with a great deal to answer this weekend. It is said that Monaghan have far more options in an attacking sense, but if you take out Conor McManus’ and Rory Beggan’s ability from frees, would you be confident of a win for the Oriels?

Tyrone’s inability to score from play outside of Niall Morgan and Peter Harte to date has reached chronic proportions, but they have become a side that struggles in the early league.

VERDICT: Monaghan

NFL DIVISION ONE

CAVAN v ROSCOMMON

(Tomorrow, Kingspan Breffni Park, 2.30pm)

Two yo-yo teams in the top divisions for a number of years, Roscommon look better set up to take this one.

Mickey Graham’s work really begins now with his club commitments completed. 

VERDICT: Roscommon

NFL DIVISION TWO

DONEGAL v FERMANAGH

(Tomorrow, Letterkenny, 2pm)

This is a funny one. On one hand, Donegal manager Declan Bonner will not want to lose this with promotion in the offing for Donegal and a poor slip-up to Tipperary in the last round.

On the other hand, they are without their Gaoth Dobhair men along with Frank McGlynn, Michael Murphy and Paddy McGrath and have a poor record in Letterkenny.

Fermanagh are not scoring much, but try to score against them. With Donegal looking momentarily vulnerable, they could nick something away from home here.

VERDICT: Fermanagh

ARMAGH v TIPPERARY

(Tomorrow, Athletic Grounds, 2pm)

The situation faced by Armagh is pretty drastic — lose this one and their league campaign is up in smoke.

Having been tipped as early favourites for promotion out of Division Two, things have been disappointing so far with leads lost against Kildare and Clare, and a defeat to Meath.

One curiosity about Armagh is they tend to do well against sides that play open football. Tipperary are certainly doing so, therefore the Orchard could be confident of a win.

VERDICT: Armagh

NFL DIVISION THREE

LONGFORD v DOWN

(Tomorrow, Pearse Park, 2pm)

Down have developed that very un-Down-like quality of winning games when the going is very tough,scraping past Westmeath in the last match.

This will be even tougher and they will do well to come away with a point. 

VERDICT: Longford

NFL DIVISION FOUR

ANTRIM v LONDON

(Tomorrow, Corrigan Park, 1pm)

We are in the third weekend of February and Antrim manager Lenny Harbinson has long conceded that their hopes of getting out of the basement league are extinct.

What he must target now is getting some St Enda’s players into the side and hoping to build some momentum for 2020. Even reading over that sentence makes one realise that the system is failing the likes of Antrim.

London have points on the board after last time out against Wexford. It wouldn’t surprise to see them do a number on Antrim here.

VERDICT: London

DERRY v WICKLOW

(Tomorrow, Maghera, 2pm)

A first inter-county league game for Maghera for many a year and a chance to see just how devoted the supposedly football-mad south of the county really are.

Given that it is Wicklow who are guests, rather than say Dublin or even a Tyrone, any attendance records are unlikely to be broken.

Wicklow have won twice this campaign, beating Waterford and Limerick. They have a tight defence, but should be no match really for the home side.

VERDICT: Derry

NHL DIVISION 2A

MAYO v ANTRIM

(Tomorrow, Ballina, 1pm)

A chance for Antrim to get a look at what they have down the depth chart of the panel, with little chance now of getting one of the promotion places. Keith Higgins’ decision to exclusively play football this year will hurt the Mayo men.

VERDICT: Antrim

MacRORY CUP SEMI-FINALS

ST PAT’S ARMAGH v OMAGH CBS

(Today, Dunmoyle, 2.30pm)

Armagh manager Mark Harte was playing down his side’s chances during the week, despite the fact there won’t be a square inch of the Dunmoyle grounds he won’t be familiar with as it is the home of his club Errigal Ciaran.

Armagh have not reached a final since 2000, when they won it and were powered by Ronan Clarke and Sean Cavanagh.

Omagh are more familiar with this stage of the competition and should progress.

VERDICT: Omagh CBS

ST MICHAEL’S ENNISKILLEN v ST PAT’S MAGHERA

(Today, Loughmacrory, 12pm)

Having not made it to the St Patrick’s Day decider since 2012, St Michael’s football nursery in Enniskillen have a talented group this time around, headed up by Michael Glynn of Derrygonnelly Harps.

Having struggled to get past Abbey CBS however, St Pat’s may have too much for them on this occasion.

VERDICT: St Pat’s

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