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Calling the shots

Declan Bogue

By Declan Bogue


KILDARE v TYRONE (Today, Newbridge, 5.00pm)

It's tempting to think that had the fixture makers not made such a mess of Kildare's qualifier against Mayo last year - generating a rallying call of 'Newbridge or Nowhere' for the Lilywhites, creating a huge siege mentality and taking Mayo out of their second home of Croke Park where they arguably play their best football - then manager Cian O'Neill might not still be Kildare manager Cian O'Neill.

That win propelled them into the Super 8s, but their momentum had undoubtedly stalled through a disappointing league campaign and into summer when it took a replay to see off Longford before their regular hiding from Dublin.

One game from the league stands out. On a miserable night, Kildare scored just one point from play against Fermanagh. They have difficulty breaking down organised defences.

And it is clear to see that Mickey Harte has gone back to an organised defence and a counter-attacking game. That will put the game beyond Kildare's reach.


MAYO v ARMAGH (Tonight, Castlebar, 7.00pm)

This could be the game of the Championship to date.

Both Kieran McGeeney and opposite number James Horan like to play football by using the talents of their forward lines and given how open both have been at the back - Mayo's performance against Down last week showing up the huge runway through their defence - there will be scoring chances and goals aplenty.

Mayo are suffering in that the spine of their team is really creaking badly and they are relying on the last drops of goodness being squeezed out of the likes of Colm Boyle, Keith Higgins and Andy Moran. A younger, more vibrant Armagh are ready for them.


WESTMEATH v CLARE (Tonight, Mullingar, 6.00pm)

Two teams who are getting the most out of themselves right now and would fancy their chances in the Super 8s.

There is evidence that Clare, in their serious test they served up to Kerry in Munster and their easy win over Leitrim, along with a credible showing a division higher than Westmeath, can spring a result away from home.


LAOIS v OFFALY (Tonight, Portlaoise, 7.00pm)

Offaly are feeling good about themselves again after wins over London and Sligo in recent weeks, John Maughan still able to pull off the odd win and extend the summer.

They are moving up a level here though.



ARMAGH v DONEGAL (Tomorrow, Clones, 3.45pm)

Donegal are going for a three in a row for the first time in their history, and have some of the more recognised names, including prolific scorer Geraldine McLaughlin at the edge of the opposition's square.

Armagh are making huge strides off the pitch but last year's result - 9-21 to 4-8 - between these two in the final is a measure of the gap between the two if Donegal really open up.

VERDICT: Donegal


ANTRIM v FERMANAGH (Tomorrow, Clones, 1.45pm)

Fermanagh have shown they know how to beat Antrim already this season.

VERDICT: Fermanagh

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