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Declan Bogue: Calling the shots

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Kieran McGeeney. Credit: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Kieran McGeeney. Credit: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Kieran McGeeney. Credit: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

ULSTER SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

ARMAGH v MONAGHAN

4pm, Saturday, Pairc Esler

Armagh have been putting down layer upon layer on their work over the last several years under Kieran McGeeney. Many of their players have to be applauded for their patience and they have moulded themselves into a decent unit with some exciting stand-out talents. Monaghan have undergone a tinkering around the fringes of the team and managed to remain competitive. If Conor McManus is fit and on form, they’ll prevail.

VERDICT: Monaghan

TYRONE v DONEGAL

1.45pm, Sunday, Brewster Park

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Sometimes it really comes down to what you sense in your gut. And while the Donegal players keep saying things like there is nothing between these two teams, at this vantage point it seems there is a huge amount. Top of the list is self-assurance. Donegal are an experienced team and they know exactly what they are about. While some players have under-performed to date, you would never anticipate a permanent drop in form. Tyrone simply have not convinced this year .

VERDICT: Donegal

ALL-IRELAND MINOR FOOTBALL FINAL

DERRY v KERRY

1pm, Sunday, Tullamore

Derry were last at this point in 2017 and took part in what became known as the ‘David Clifford final’ with reports that few previous All-Irelands had such a big crowd attend the minor game. That day they were torn apart by a genius and while Kerry have no such talent of that ilk this time, they have been remarkably consistent at this level, winning five of the last six All-Ireland titles.

Derry overcame Monaghan in the Ulster final and they will struggle for many pundits to tip them. But Marty Boyle’s lads should really make a very even contest of this.  

VERDICT: Kerry

NICKY RACKARD CUP QUARTER-FINAL

ARMAGH v LEITRIM

1.30pm, Saturday, Kingspan Breffni

While there has to be a means of getting up through the various ranks in hurling, there are certain steps where the precipice is wide and daunting for teams. For Leitrim going up to this level, some tough days were always going to come. This could be one.

VERDICT: Armagh

LORY MEAGHER CUP QUARTER-FINAL

FERMANAGH v MONAGHAN

1.30pm, Saturday, Brewster Park

While Monaghan had been operating at a higher level than Fermanagh in the league this year, their results were far from encouraging. However, this Fermanagh team have shown a propensity to shoot themselves in the foot and need more out of their ‘imports’ Kevin McGarry and Barney McAuley.

VERDICT: Monaghan

ALL-IRELAND LADIES’ FOOTBALL

ARMAGH v CAVAN

5.30pm, Saturday, Clones

4-17 to 1-12 was some tally for Armagh to run up against Monaghan and those that follow this sport closely would suggest Ronan Murphy has timed their run well and they are hitting a nice wee patch of form. 

VERDICT: Armagh

MAYO v MONAGHAN

2pm, Saturday, Ballinamore

The Monaghan ship has been listing a little since they were beaten two games on the bounce by Armagh. Mayo have not been as strong as in recent years and their gap to an All-Ireland final stretches back to 2017. 

VERDICT: Mayo

DONEGAL v GALWAY

4pm, Saturday, Markievicz Park

Donegal get up and running after sitting last week out. Maxi Curran’s team have already accounted for Galway in the league and they won all three group stages games there. 

VERDICT: Donegal

DOWN v LOUTH

3pm, Saturday, Pairc Elser

Wins over Fermanagh in the Ulster Intermediate final, followed by another victory over Offaly in this tournament, have given the Mourne ladies a real shot in the arm.

VERDICT: Down 

ANTRIM v CARLOW

1.30pm, Sunday, Lannierie

Antrim lost to Derry at the third time of meeting them, having beaten them twice already in the league. They should get a win here against Carlow, who have not won a game themselves. 

VERDICT: Antrim

DERRY v LIMERICK

2pm, Sunday, Kinnegad

Derry’s recent win over Antrim in the first round of this competition represented their first victory in two years. They will not be adding to it here.

VERDICT: Limerick

ALL-IRELAND CAMOGIE

WATERFORD v DOWN

2pm, Sunday, Walsh Park

Senior All-Ireland camogie returns to Down for the first time in 22 years, and Ulster in the last five, when the Mourne side open their account with a trip away to Waterford. They stayed down in Clonmel last night to give themselves the best possible chance. There may be some lessons to learn out of their three games ahead against Waterford, Cork and Dublin, but they are willing to learn them. 

VERDICT: Waterford


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