Football/Soccer

February 15/16: GAA Matchbox – stats, team news and verdicts ahead of a busy weekend of League action

BIG RETURN: Wexford's Lee Chin could feature against Kilkenny. Picture: Seamus Loughran
Compiled by Padraig Kelly

HURLING

TODAY

Division One Group A

Limerick v Waterford

(LIT Gaelic Grounds, 7pm)

BOTH these sides have won their opening two games and are even level on scoring difference. The victor here will almost certainly secure a spot in the knock-out stages, and will also deliver a message in the process. Brian Ryan and Darren O'Connell are set to make their League debuts for the Treaty county while Richie English is ruled out through injury.

Odds: H: 1/3 D: 10/1 A: 3/1

Verdict: Limerick

Division One Group B

Carlow v Dublin

(Netwatch Cullen Park, 5pm)

IT'S been hard lines for Carlow in Division One so far having lost to Clare by 16 points and Kilkenny by 21 points. This is a match that they will feel that they can be reasonably competitive in though. Mattie Kenny's Dublin haven't been at their best thus far, but it's very hard to see them not coming away with the spoils here.

Odds: H: 8/1 D: 13/1 A: 1/12

Verdict: Dublin

Division 2A

Meath v Kerry

(Trim, 2pm)

THIS is a huge game in Division 2A and Meath will be hoping for a repeat of the performance that so nearly earned something against Offaly in round one. Kerry did get the better of the Faithful county in their last game, and they will be hoping to have Shane Conway back after his heroics helped UCC retain the Fitzgibbon Cup midweek.

Odds: H: 23/10 D: 17/2 A: 2/5

Verdict: Kerry

Division 2B

Down v Warwickshire

(Ballycran, 12.30pm)

DOWN surely have to target a heavy win here given that Warwickshire were only able to score 0-1 in their last game against Kildare. Anything other than that would be a huge shock and the Ulster side should keep their name in the promotion mix. Oisin McManus, who has 1-25 in two games, should rack up another big tally.

Odds: H: 1/100 D: 33/1 A: 16/1

Verdict: Down

Division 3A

Leitrim v Cavan

(Belturbet, 2pm)

THIS ‘home' game for Leitrim will now be played in Belturbet as the pitch in Ballinamore is not fit to host it. Ollie Bellew's Cavan come into this game on the back of a fine win over Fermanagh, but this will be a tough assignment. Leitrim, managed by Derry native Olcan Conway, will be without the suspended Gavin O'Hagan.

Verdict: Leitrim

TOMORROW

Division One Group A

Galway v Tipperary

(Pearse Stadium, 2pm)

THESE two teams come into the game on the back of defeats so both will be aiming to put things right. Tipperary lost a high-scoring match with Cork while Galway were never really in it against Limerick. Joe Canning went off injured in the second half of that match and his availability will have a big impact on their chances.

Odds: H: 6/5 D: 15/2 A: 10/11

Verdict: Tipperary

Westmeath v Cork

(TEG Cusack Park, 2pm)

CORK are 1/50 shots heading into this fixture, and it's more about the margin of victory rather than the outcome. Given the opposition, manager Kieran Kingston may opt against rushing back some of his UCC contingent who tasted Fitzgibbon success midweek. Westmeath have lost heavily to Galway and Waterford.

Odds: H: 9/1 D: 33/1 A: 1/50

Verdict: Cork

Division One Group B

Clare v Laois

(Cusack Park, 2pm)

LAOIS manager Eddie Brennan and his players deserve a fair bit of credit for performing the best out of the weaker teams in the new Division One format. They have produced good performances for three quarters of their games with Wexford and Dublin before falling away. They won't win here but they may not be hammered either.

Odds: H: 1/66 D: 28/1 A: 10/1

Verdict: Clare

Wexford v Kilkenny

(Chadwicks Wexford Park, 2pm)

WEXFORD have enjoyed their recent skirmishes with Kilkenny and they could welcome Matthew O'Hanlon, Lee Chin and Diarmuid O'Keeffe back for this game, which is sure to be played in front of a huge crowd. Kilkenny have hit 3-21 in their two games to date and they enter this game top of the table. Brian Cody has said they want to top the group to earn an automatic semi-final spot, so expect a thriller.

Odds: H: 6/5 D: 15/2 A: 10/11

Verdict: Wexford

Division 2A

Mayo v Wicklow

(Elverys MacHale Park, 1pm)

IT'S almost certain that the loser here will be relegated from Division 2A. Neither side has a point to date and are unlikely to get any outside of this fixture. The Garden county, with Andy O'Brien prominent, have at least performed well against Antrim and Meath and they should get the win – and secure safety – here.

Odds: H: 5/2 D: 10/1 A: 1/3

Verdict: Wicklow

Offaly v Antrim

(Bord Na Mona O'Connor Park, 2pm)

ANTRIM face their biggest game of the season to date and they could have Marty Burke back in the squad after he came on for the final 20 minutes in their challenge game with Tipperary last weekend. Manager Darren Gleeson will hope that encounter has provided the perfect preparation for this trip to Tullamore. Offaly were lucky to beat Meath but they did lose to Kerry.

Odds: H: 6/5 D: 8/1 A: 10/11

Verdict: Offaly

Division 2B

Roscommon v London

(Dr Hyde Park, 1pm)

BOTH these sides are at the wrong end of the table so they need points, fast. London were quite good against Derry in their last game as they mounted a strong comeback. They trailed by 14 points at one stage but lost by just three with the scoring exploits of David Nolan and Shane Lawless giving the Oakleafers a sweat.

Odds: H: 7/4 D: 9/1 A: 8/15

Verdict: Draw

Derry v Kildare

(Owenbeg, 2pm)

Derry will have Eamon McGill available after he won his appeal against the red card picked up in the victory over London. John McEvoy's side nearly messed up in that game. They led by 14 points but were just three ahead at the final whistle. Like Derry, Kildare have won their opening two games and whoever comes out on top here will have a foot firmly in the final.

Odds: H: 5/4 D: 15/2 A: 4/5

Verdict: Kildare

Division 3A

Longford v Armagh

(Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, 2pm)

ARMAGH look far too good for this division and should have little bother in collecting their third win. Longford though could be their trickiest assignment to date with the Midlanders picking up wins over Monaghan and Louth in their first two outings.

Verdict: Armagh

Monaghan v Tyrone

(Castleblayney, 2pm)

TYRONE simply must win this if they are to keep up their aim of reaching the Division 3A final. Mattie Lennon's side were far from their best against Louth but got the win before falling to Donegal. The Farney county have lost to Longford and Armagh.

Verdict: Tyrone

Louth v Donegal

(Darver, 2pm)

DONEGAL got back on track with an excellent performance against Tyrone last time out and they should make it back-to-back wins here. Louth, managed by former Armagh player Paul McCormack, are unfortunate to be on zero points but they should still be on that tally by the close of play.

Verdict: Donegal

Division 3B

Fermanagh v Sligo

(Brewster Park, 2pm)

FERMANAGH will be down the emigrating Ryan Bogue while John Duffy could be suspended, although the Erne county were understood to be appealing that. Sligo have only played once but still top the table after a big win over Lancashire.

Verdict: Sligo

FOOTBALL

TOMORROW

Division Two

Laois v Cavan

(MW Hire O'Moore Park, 2pm)

CAVAN are currently bottom of Division Two but an eight-point win here will be enough to move them into the promotion spots. That's easier said than done against a Laois side that has won seven of their last 10 home games in the League. Michael Quirke's side have also recorded an impressive draw in Roscommon while they were much too strong for Armagh.

Odds: H: 8/13 D: 13/2 A: 15/8

Verdict: Laois

Division Three

Louth v Offaly

(Gaelic Grounds, 2pm)

IT will be time to get worried for the losers here with these two Leinster sides managing just a point between them in the first two rounds – that coming via Offaly's draw with Longford. Declan Byrne is set to return from injury for the Wee county while Ryan Burns could also be fit for a spot on the bench.

Odds: H: EVs D: 7/1 A: EVs

Verdict: Draw

Division Four

Wicklow v Sligo

(Aughrim, 1pm)

SLIGO didn't win a game in 2019 but here they are sitting on four points from two games. Paul Taylor's side probably were disappointed to see their momentum halted by the weather last week but the manager said that it wasn't a massive issue. Wicklow lost narrowly to Carlow in round one before defeating Waterford 2-11 to 1-6 in their next match – Seanie Furlong top-scoring with 0-5.

Odds: H: 7/4 D: 7/1 A: 4/7

Verdict: Wicklow

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