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Ronan Sheehan. Credit: INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Ronan Sheehan. Credit: INPHO/Tommy Dickson

©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Ronan Sheehan. Credit: INPHO/Tommy Dickson

ULSTER SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

MONAGHAN v FERMANAGH

3.30pm, Today, Clones

MONAGHAN have had a curious season, awesome at stages against Donegal and Tyrone but an opening-day defeat to Armagh left them chasing their tail. They still oversaw a quiet revolution in players that injected much-needed pace throughout each line, while racing their veterans lightly.

They will have too much for a Fermanagh team that pulled off a massive shock in beating Cavan on the first day of the league. That result now looks less impressive.

VERDICT: Monaghan

ARMAGH v ANTRIM

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3.30pm, Tomorrow, Athletic Grounds

There’s a sense that with Antrim in the first game and the winners of Monaghan and Fermanagh — likely Monaghan, who have a history of getting caught cold in Ulster semi-finals — next up, there will be no easier route to an Ulster final for Armagh. They will start that job of work here. With respect to Antrim, they have achieved all they can.

VERDICT: Armagh

JOE McDONAGH CUP

DOWN v MEATH

3pm, Today, Ballycran

When these two met in the league, Down hit a massive 4-23 tally and would appear to be on a different level than the Royal hurlers. Last week’s result away to Kerry caught Ronan Sheehan’s men on the hop somewhat, but they were out in action while Meath were left kicking their heels.

VERDICT: Down

CHRISTY RING CUP

ROSCOMMON v DERRY

2pm, Saturday, Athleague

A few years back, 2016 to be precise, Roscommon were putting it to Antrim’s hurlers in a game in Dunloy and might have come within a point or two only for a puzzling substitution as the game went down the stretch. Last weekend’s heavy defeat to Wicklow shows Derry that they have their chance.

VERDICT: Derry

NICKY RACKARD CUP

ARMAGH v TYRONE

1.30pm, Saturday, Athletic Grounds

Here we have a team that came up from the division below against a side that was clearly the second-best team in the sector last year, while also being a step above the rest. Armagh could find things tough.

VERDICT: Tyrone

LORY MEAGHER CUP

CAVAN v FERMANAGH

1.30pm, Sunday,

Kingspan Breffni

In Group B of the Lory Meagher Cup, the table toppers of this two-team group will go to the semi-finals. The losers will go into a quarter-final against the third-placed team in Group A, who appear to be shaping up as Monaghan. You have to applaud the ingenuity of trying to create suitable competitions for teams lower down the tiers, but this is far-fetched.

VERDICT: Cavan

LEINSTER SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

LAOIS v WESTMEATH

1.30pm, Sunday, Tullamore

Laois have been struggling badly this year, losing all of their Division Two games before getting a bit of a hosing against Down in the relegation play-off. Westmeath are not much better, though, but they are better all the same.

VERDICT: Westmeath

MEATH v LONGFORD

3.00pm, Sunday, Navan

Longford arrive into this one after a thrilling extra-time affair against Carlow last week. Meath will not have any time for that kind of innocence here as they aim to build on a season that has already brought promotion.

VERDICT: Meath

WEXFORD v DUBLIN

3.30pm, Sunday, Wexford Park

Nice to see Wexford winning last weekend after the season they had and the ridiculous sideshow that was Paul Galvin’s inter-county management stint. But you fear for them here.

VERDICT: Dublin

KILDARE v OFFALY

4.30pm, Sunday, Portlaoise

Jack O’Connor up against John Maughan on the line. Great to see it.

VERDICT: Kildare

CONNACHT SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

ROSCOMMON v GALWAY

1.15pm, Sunday, Dr Hyde Park

Roscommon in The Hyde, against a Galway side that has become the ultimate in Jekyll and Hyde. Until they figure themselves out, they are going to be vulnerable against an organised team and we expect Anthony Cunningham’s men to be just that this weekend.

VERDICT: Roscommon


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