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Calling the shots

Donegal's Michael Murphy
Donegal's Michael Murphy
Declan Bogue

By Declan Bogue

ULSTER SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL.

DONEGAL v CAVAN (Sunday, Clones, 2.00pm)

Another glorious day in Clones awaits. Cavan need a number of players to stand out, chief among them Dara McVeety and Conor Madden in the inside line.

There is a sense, however, that Donegal, in their eighth final in nine years, will have too much about them, with Paddy McBrearty and Michael Murphy to the fore.

VERDICT: Donegal

ALL-IRELAND QUALIFIERS ROUND 2

ANTRIM v KILDARE (Saturday, Corrigan Park, 3.00pm)

For all the talk about this game being an enormous opportunity to show off Belfast or Antrim GAA, it has to be sorely disappointing that Antrim did not sell their allocation of 800 tickets against a high profile opposition.

As good as their win over Louth was, reality will bite here.

VERDICT: Kildare

LONGFORD v TYRONE (Saturday, Pearse Park, 5.00pm)

Over Mickey Harte's time as manager, Tyrone have only failed to reach the All-Ireland quarter-final series twice in 16 seasons.

Even without the suspended Tiernan McCann they will have little bother here in progressing, and will look to polish off the midlanders with something to spare before bigger tests.

VERDICT: Tyrone

MONAGHAN v ARMAGH (Saturday, Clones, 7.00pm)

If Armagh truly are to show they are progressing in year five of Kieran McGeeney's management, then this is the type of game they have to win. Questions of where their heads are at are viable given the fuss over Jamie Clarke getting a club transfer to a London side this week.

This will be an interesting clash of styles. Monaghan's attack has been misfiring, but their win over Fermanagh required some great scores from distance. Armagh, meanwhile, conceded 23 scores against Cavan in the semi-final replay.

Brendan Donaghy's return should shore up the defence somewhat, but Monaghan will have too much for them.

VERDICT: Monaghan

DOWN v MAYO (Saturday, Newry, 7.00pm)

There should be a huge crowd in Newry, even allowing for the crazy scheduling.

Down will give Mayo some problems, but the craziest story in football will get back on track.

VERDICT: Mayo

CHRISTY RING CUP FINAL

DOWN v MEATH (Saturday, Croke Park, 2.00pm)

Down's win over Roscommon, and the margin of victory, along with their tally, has left this game unpredictable.

While Meath came through the tougher group, Down's firepower with Daithi and Eoghan Sands as a two man full-forward has given them a real chance of taking this.

VERDICT: Down

NICKY RACKARD CUP FINAL

ARMAGH v SLIGO (Saturday, Croke Park, 4.00pm)

Sligo produced a very strong season and showed just how much they have progressed since 2015 with a win over an in-form Tyrone and a draw with Mayo.

Armagh need to utilise Eoin McGuinness at the edge of the opponent's square and could win this cup for the third time.

VERDICT: Armagh

LEINSTER FOOTBALL FINAL

DUBLIN v MEATH (Sunday, Croke Park, 4.00pm)

It's difficult to say if a Leinster Football Championship has been staged amongst such gloom inside and out of the province. It should be another big win for Dublin.

VERDICT: Dublin

MUNSTER FOOTBALL FINAL

CORK v KERRY (Saturday, Pairc Uí Chaoimh, 7.00pm)

Having said that above about Leinster, along comes Munster with a 'hold my beer' moment.

Relegation to Division Three might have hurt the soul of Cork football, but the odd thing is that on the challenge game circuit, few are displaying as good a form.

If the Rebels can keep Kerry's score down - and with four of Peter Keane's starting six forwards under-20s there is a chance - then they should emerge with an honourable defeat.

Even that would be an improvement.

VERDICT: Kerry

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