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Calling the shots

Declan Bogue

By Declan Bogue

ALL-IRELAND SUPER 8s FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

GROUP 1 - PHASE 3

MAYO v DONEGAL (Today, Castlebar, 6pm)

Oh my, what a prospect in store. Castlebar, Mayo's last stand and everything on the line.

And on the line is where it will be won, with Donegal coach Stephen Rochford having managed Mayo, knowing all there is to know about them.

Knowledge is power, and even allowing for an injury scare or two, Donegal will win.

VERDICT: Donegal

MEATH v KERRY (Today, Navan, 6pm)

It's not possible for Meath to qualify, but with their one game at home being Kerry coming to town, they will be anxious not to let the bottom fall out of the bucket.

They will feel they have made huge strides this year and have Division One football to look forward to. It will be competitive.

VERDICT: Kerry

GROUP 2 - PHASE 3

TYRONE v DUBLIN (Tomorrow, Healy Park, 4pm)

Sneer all you like, but there are many, many angles to explore in this game.

It would seem inconceivable that Dublin would not experiment - by their standards - wildly in this. Jim Gavin is not prone to head staggers, but he really should try Rory O'Carroll at full-back to regain that hulking physical presence they lack in the heart of defence.

And then he needs to let Diarmuid Connolly loose. Some would say Healy Park is not the venue for that, but if he cannot handle the heat against Tyrone in Omagh how could it be any different in a full Croke Park?

There is something about Tyrone's innate conservatism that says they will hunker down and try to just stay in the game as long as possible before a late charge. Is this right or wrong in the context of what is to come over the next few weeks? We can't quite figure it out.

VERDICT: Dublin

CORK v ROSCOMMON (Tomorrow, Páirc Uí Rinn, 4pm)

At least there are some layers of intrigue to the Dublin-Tyrone and Meath-Kerry games.

Here, neither of the teams are playing for anything whatsoever. A Championship game with truly nothing on the line - not even the laying down of markers for later on - is the invention of this new Championship structure.

VERDICT: Cork

ALL-IRELAND UNDER 20 HURLING 'B'

DOWN v KERRY (Today, Navan, 3.45pm)

Down have faced Kerry at this level numerous times over the last few years but have yet to get the better of them. With Kerry playing in front of what is sure to be a big crowd there for the headlining gig of the seniors' final Super 8s game against Meath, their task is no easier.

But they have an experienced cohort of senior hurlers such as Ronan Blair, Tim Prenter, Tom Murray and Phelim Savage and will be competitive.

VERDICT: Kerry

ALL-IRELAND LADIES' QUARTER-FINAL

TYRONE v CORK (Today, Ballinasloe, 3pm)

It may have been the final game in the group stages of the Championship, but there was something about Armagh's win over Cork that has unsettled the Rebellettes heading into this weekend.

Tyrone have coped well in their first year back up at senior level, but Cork manager Ephie Fitzgerald will look for a reaction from his players and is highly likely to get it in spades.

VERDICT: Cork

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