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Calling the shots - All-Ireland Super8s football championship

Declan Bogue

By Declan Bogue

ALL-IRELAND SUPER 8s FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

GROUP 2 - PHASE 2

CORK v TYRONE (Saturday, Croke Park, 5.00pm)

IF Tyrone were wondering how Cork perform against a defensive system, they could do worse than to look at their first game of the league campaign.

A short trip away in Enniskillen, Fermanagh were the hosts for the Rebels. They set up - as you might imagine - very defensively and while Cork jumped into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead after the first 10 minutes, they only scored 1-1 for the rest of the game.

Getting Matthew Taylor's goal in the 60th minute appeared to win it for the away side, but Fermanagh managed to snatch the draw late on.

Now, that afternoon Fermanagh's attack was poor, hitting eight wides. But Tyrone's attack is much more polished with Cathal McShane a beacon for others to get up in support. When you add in the potential for long range scores from the likes of Mattie and Richie Donnelly and Peter Harte, then you can see that Mickey Harte's side have the raw materials to run up a score.

However, Cork's performance in the Championship has flipped perceptions. After a player's meeting that was brought on by their relegation to Division Three, they made the decision they were going to die with their boots on. It was that approach that characterised the last great Cork side that won the All-Ireland in 2010, the year before the blanket defence went nuclear.

Tyrone, with Niall Sludden enjoying a brilliant return to form, should have enough here to frustrate the Rebels.

VERDICT: Tyrone

DUBLIN v ROSCOMMON (Saturday, Croke Park, 7.00pm)

Is there a defect in the Dublin machine? The first 20 minutes of last weekend's win over Cork might have highlighted one when Cork decided to go man for man and turn it into an athletic contest.

During the first 20 minutes it was clear Dublin had not expected this and they were turned over constantly when they launched attacks. It also put their defenders into a measure of discomfort.

Roscommon probably will not go down that road. They showed their progress in an encouraging display against Tyrone last weekend but defeat, and an exit from the Super 8's series, seems like the only logical conclusion here for Anthony Cunningham's men.

VERDICT: Dublin

GROUP 1 - PHASE 2

MAYO v MEATH (Sunday, Croke Park, 2.00pm)

Two teams with absolutely everything to play for and given how Meath troubled Donegal in Ballybofey last Sunday, they could be smelling blood.

Mayo had bullied Kerry in recent years and in front of their own fans they weren't going to allow that to happen, their defiance typified by the David Moran and Sean O'Shea manhandling of Aidan O'Shea and Donal Vaughan before the ball was even thrown in last Sunday.

It was suggested this week that Mayo only really show their true worth when everything is on the line. Let's see.

VERDICT: Mayo

KERRY v DONEGAL (Sunday, Croke Park, 4.00pm)

After struggling to shrug Meath off for long periods of last weekend, Donegal will not want to go to Castlebar to meet a scrappy Mayo in the final round.

However, this seems like their lot. Kerry have found another level in the last week and in David Clifford, have the most dangerous attacker going. With Eoghan Ban Gallagher gone, this could be beyond them.

VERDICT: Kerry

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