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Calling the shots: All-Ireland Senior Football Round 3 Qualifiers Previews

 

By Declan Bogue

ALL-IRELAND SENIOR FOOTBALL ROUND 3 QUALIFIERS

CAVAN v TYRONE

(Today, Brewster Park, 5.00pm)

LAST week it appeared that the Cavan support had lost all faith in their team, as a paltry attendance turned up in the same venue to see them come good against Down, albeit a Down that lost Connaire Harrison and Kevin McKernan in one huge brain-melting moment.

It seemed that the team were intent on leaving the Championship altogether when you consider the going-ons of Monday morning.

Asked to nominate a venue now that Breffni Park is out of action, Cavan declared themselves pleased to go to Croke Park, where they have an appalling record, to play Tyrone, who are intimately familiar with it.

Tyrone’s record in Brewster Park is not terribly clever, but they would have been down for something like a walkover if the Croke Park fixture had have been left to stand.

With a couple of games in the backdoor, a testing evening in the Navan heat followed by an exhibition of forward play against Carlow under their belt, Tyrone will be delighted the way they are sneaking into the Super 8s almost undetected.

VERDICT: Tyrone

ARMAGH v CLARE

(Today, Athletic Grounds, 3.00pm)

An impressive win over Westmeath was followed by a much more complete performance against Sligo last weekend, Rory Grugan’s goal from the kickout an example of how the Armagh forwards are functioning much better since their Ulster clash with Fermanagh.

Clare will cause some problems and have a vastly superior midfield with Gary Brennan in the mix, but they have had issues in their defence dating back to the first game of the year when they allowed Cavan a share of the league points in the final play of the game.

VERDICT: Armagh

LEITRIM v MONAGHAN

(Today, Carrick-on-Shannon, 2.30pm)

Some games don’t really require a preview.

Monaghan will win this with quite a bit to spare, but will be concerned about heading into round four not being tested to any degree.

VERDICT: Monaghan

KILDARE v MAYO

(Today, Newbridge, 7.00pm)

After all the fuss, the heroic stands, the controversy and the mildly patronising commentary, not to mention the myriad of agendas that some wanted to push in the stand-off surrounding this fixture (the most laughable being that Sky TV had any influence on the CCCC), there is a game to play.

And here is where the romance ends for Kildare.

VERDICT: Mayo

JOE McDONAGH CUP PLAY OFF

ANTRIM v KILDARE

(Today, Athletic Grounds, 12.45pm)

The two sides chose this week to make a stand against the plans to turn this tournament from a six-team tournament to a five-team one next year by releasing a joint statement.

In it’s first year of operation it has been a magnificent competition and the eagerness of GAA officials to tamper with their own competitions simply has to stop, so we must applaud their stance.

VERDICT: Antrim

MUNSTER HURLING FINAL

CORK v CLARE

(Tomorrow, Semple Stadium, 2.00pm)

At the end of a cracking Munster Championship, we are left with a pairing that few might have expected at the start of what turned into the helter-skelter group stages.

John Meyler has fashioned a new-look Cork side while opponents Clare have been vastly remodelled from the team that won Liam MacCarthy in 2013, though they still depend on the magnificent Tony Kelly to make things happen.

VERDICT: Clare

LEINSTER HURLING FINAL

KILKENNY v GALWAY

(Tomorrow, Croke Park, 4.00pm)

Galway’s physicality this season has reached even higher levels.

It was once thought no team could live with Kilkenny when they turned up the heat, but the All-Ireland champions have reached the point in their development that they can play it any way you want.

VERDICT: Galway

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