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Calling the shots

 

Malachy O’Rourke
Malachy O’Rourke
John Campbell

By John Campbell

ULSTER SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

TYRONE v DONEGAL

(Today, Breffni Park, 5pm)

The Ulster final in all but name? Perhaps a tad harsh on Cavan or Armagh, but from the moment the draw was made, this was the match-up many expected could rescue a listing Championship.

Donegal may just have the more talent, but Tyrone’s long transition is now in full bloom. If they can service Cathal McShane with enough ball, their recent dominance will continue. 

VERDICT: Tyrone

ARMAGH v CAVAN

(Tomorrow, Clones, 4pm)

Who can learn most from the drawn game? Cavan manager Mickey Graham has an awesome record in replays. Armagh, meanwhile, seem doomed to repeating unfortunate errors. Like a lot of games, it could come down to the referee’s treatment of key incidents. 

VERDICT: Cavan

ALL-IRELAND FOOTBALL QUALIFIERS

WEXFORD v DERRY

(Today, Wexford Park,

4.45pm)

A long journey to the south east, but it will all be worth it for Damian McErlain’s Oak Leafers.

VERDICT: Derry

MONAGHAN v FERMANAGH

(Tomorrow, Clones, 1.45pm)

Monaghan are strong favourites to defeat the side that beat them in last year’s Ulster semi-final, though it might be said that Fermanagh’s performance in the Ulster Championship was better than Monaghan’s meek surrender against Cavan.

If Malachy O’Rourke is lucky enough to get a few injuries cleared up, they should prevail. 

VERDICT: Monaghan

DOWN v TIPPERARY

(Tomorrow, Newry, 2pm)

Big pressure on Down manager Paddy Tally. After an encouraging performance against Armagh, they might feel they should still be in the Ulster Championship. A bit of slippage has happened for Tipperary from spring to summer, and the home advantage might help Down. 

VERDICT: Down

JOE McDONAGH CUP

ANTRIM v WESTMEATH

(Today, Dunloy, 2pm)

This is the big one for Antrim. Win this and they stand a serious chance of getting to the final.

They are coming up against a Westmeath side that tend to blow both hot and cold. Good enough to beat Offaly well on their first day out, they went down to an avalanche of Kerry goals last weekend.

The nature of last weekend’s win, with their backs to the wall and a man down, could propel the Saffrons.

VERDICT: Antrim

CHRISTY RING CUP

MEATH v DERRY

(Today, Athletic Grounds, 2pm)

Having conceded just 48 points in three games this summer campaign, there is something about Meath’s hurlers that shows they have the ability to win the competition they last won in 2016, after a replay against Antrim.

VERDICT: Meath

DOWN v ROSCOMMON 

(Today, Inniskeen, 3pm)

Both teams have played three and won two, losing one in the group stages.

Now it boils down to who can handle the occasion better and there are signs that Down are coping with this under Ronan Sheehan. 

VERDICT: Down

NICKY RACKARD CUP

ARMAGH v TYRONE

(Today, Inniskeen, 1pm)

After beating Mayo in their group opener, Mattie Lennon’s Tyrone took their eye off the ball with disastrous consequences against Sligo.

However, they recovered well with a victory over Louth last weekend and when these two met in the league, it was a narrow win for Tyrone in Omagh.

It could be the same again.

VERDICT: Tyrone

MONAGHAN v LOUTH

(Today, Crossmaglen, 3pm)

Both sides have had a tough season so far, being bottom in their respective groups and this is a relegation play-off to see who might slip down into Lory Meagher territory in 2020.

Neither side are in great shape, but Trevor Hilliard’s Monaghan appear to be slightly better off.

VERDICT: Monaghan

LORY MEAGHER CUP

CAVAN v LANCASHIRE

(Today, Ballyconnell, 1pm)

Opening defeats for Cavan against Leitrim and Fermanagh shows that without their Dublin contingent, maintaining an inter-county hurling team is not simple.

VERDICT: Lancashire

LEITRIM v FERMANAGH

(Today, Carrick-on-Shannon, 1pm)

One more win for Fermanagh would push them into a Croke Park decider.

With John Duffy in fine scoring form, they might just have the momentum.

VERDICT: Fermanagh

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