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GAA: Calling all the shots on upcoming matches

By Declan Bogue

Ulster Senior Football Championship. Armagh v Cavan. Sunday, Athletic Grounds, 4pm. As we have seen, league form has followed a pattern of giving us a false reading in the early stages of the Championship, so Armagh cannot be discounted.

However, they have the look of a team plugging holes here and without picking two reliable freetakers in the Kernan brothers, Tony and Aaron, seem determined to make life hard for themselves.

The footballing philosophy oscillated throughout the league, as they won only two games and were relegated.

Cavan boss Terry Hyland and his side have a much better idea of what they are at as they leapfrogged Armagh through the leagues and most importantly, have a content and happy panel with strong leadership. They will play to their defensive strengths with Cian Mackey and Martin Reilly helping out the rearguard.

Armagh need to rely on a healthy dose of pride, but it may not be enough.


Leinster Senior Football Championship

Longford v Wexford

Saturday, Pearse Park Longford, 7pm

Longford have traditionally been tricky opponents for Wexford, taking them to extra-time in last year's round two qualifier and to a replay the year before.

After beating Offaly with Sean McCormack in fine scoring form they go into this game with the momentum, with even the likes of Ben Brosnan noting how Wexford have slipped.

VERDICT: Longford

Louth v Kildare

Sunday, Croke Park, 2pm

Kildare had a pretty awful league campaign in Jason Ryan's first year in charge, but are still fancied to get the better of Aidan O'Rourke's charges here.

VERDICT: Kildare

Dublin v Laois

Sunday, Croke Park, 4pm

The Dubs remove the dust covers and give us a look at what is ahead. These two sides met two years ago with Dublin getting through by two points.

Unlikely that the margin will be kept to anything as modest this time round with players pushing hard to get, or maintain, a starting slot on Jim Gavin's first 15.


Connacht Senior Football Championship

Roscommon v Mayo

Sunday, Dr Hyde Park, 2pm

A chance for both teams to make a definitive statement, with John Evans doing another remarkable job on a county after all the good work in Tipperary.

Winning promotion was encouraging, but they are running up against one of the frontrunners for the All-Ireland here. Home advantage and plenty of passion should keep Mayo within striking distance for the Rossies, but not much else.


Munster Senior Football Championship

Clare v Waterford

Saturday, Ennis, 7pm

Coming off the back of a promotion campaign and able to call on the services of talented dual player Podge Collins, Clare enter this with some expectation upon themselves. However, in Cusack Park they should be able to handle it.


Leinster Senior Hurling Championship

Kilkenny v Offaly

Saturday, Nowlan Park, 7pm

Hello and welcome to the Sky Sports era, and they could hardly have picked a worse one to begin with. 1/50 on for this tie, Brian Cody's team shouldn't have any significant problems against an Offaly side whose problems run deep.

VERDICT: Kilkenny

Munster Senior Hurling Championship

Cork v Waterford

Sunday, Semple Stadium, 3.30pm

The Deise surprised many with their passion and gameplan the first day out, indeed dominating for most of the game until they slighted tailed off towards the end of the drawn encounter.

Jimmy Barry Murphy has now had a chance to iron out any complacency in his side and they are warm favourites now. Bill Cooper ends a starting spot after his goalscoring heroics the last day out and you have to feel the element of surprise has gone for Waterford now.


Nicky Rackard Final

Tyrone v Fingal

Saturday, Croke Park, 2pm

In beating Roscommon away from home, Tyrone marked themselves down as a team that has plenty more potential to move up through the ranks. After a disappointing league campaign in 2013 in which they slipped down to the bottom tier, it has taken a lot of hard work from manager Mattie Lennon and his players.

They have a serious chance here, and it could go to extra time, but Fingal might just sneak it in the end.


Nicky Rackard Final

Fermanagh v Longford

Saturday, Croke Park, 12noon

Two years on from losing the Lory Meagher final in the most cruel circumstances going to neighbours Tyrone, it appears that Fermanagh are about to land silverware in Croke Park for the very first time against opponents they have had little difficulty with over the last few years.

VERDICT: Fermanagh

Belfast Telegraph


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