GAA Football

Matchbox

LEADING THE LINE: Christopher Bradley has been Derry's top scorer in Division Four Picture: Cliff Donaldson
Compiled by Padraig Kelly

Derry v Leitrim

(today, Celtic Park, 4pm)

CELTIC Park looks set to host one of the most passive games of the weekend as these two teams engage in a bit of shadow-boxing ahead of their Croke Park meeting on March 30.

It’s hard to work out what approach the two teams will take, but it’s unlikely you’ll see players hurtling into tackles with nothing to play for apart from catching the eye ahead of that Dublin date.

The Oakleafers were tipped to make an immediate return to Division Three and Damian McErlain’s side did that with the minimum of fuss, even if they were pushed all the way by Antrim in their first outing.

They have been far from scintillating but the scoring prowess of Christopher Bradley (1-15), Emmett Bradley (0-13), Shane McGuigan (2-6) and Ciaran McFaul (0-11) has ensured that results have been favourable.

Leitrim’s progress has been much more remarkable as they have secured promotion for the first time since 1990.

Former Cavan boss Terry Hyland has been the mastermind behind the success and he has really brought the best out of young forward Ryan O’Rourke who has 3-18 to date.

Leitrim won’t care too much if they lose this phony war, the real battle is yet to come.

Odds: H: 4/11 D: 15/2 A: 11/4

Verdict: Derry

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Division One

Monaghan v Cavan

(today, Clones, 2pm)

THE threat of relegation hangs over rivals Monaghan and Cavan as they prepare for this huge League game in Clones. The Farney are still missing midfield options with Kieran Hughes and Niall Kearns out but they still possess a top forward line and only Kerry and Dublin have scored more in Division One. Given that Cavan host Dublin next week, a win looks a real requirement for them here.

Odds: H: 4/9 D: 15/2 A: 5/2

Verdict: Monaghan

Galway v Roscommon

(today, Pearse Stadium, 3.30pm)

BACK-TO-BACK defeats have left Roscommon in a precarious position and they need a swing in their away form having previously lost in Mayo and Cavan. Four of Galway’s five games have been settled by two points or less and this could be another close encounter.

Odds: H: 1/2 D: 7/1 A: 9/4

Verdict: Draw

Dublin v Tyrone

(tonight, Croke Park, 7pm, live on eir Sport 1)

MICKEY Harte has named the same 15 that made light work of Cavan as they revisit the scene of last year’s All-Ireland final defeat to Dublin. The stakes are lower but the Red Hands still wouldn’t turn down the opportunity of landing a psychological blow with a win. Dublin have won their last two games and are in that three-team grouping on six points.

Odds: H: 2/7 D: 10/1 A: 7/2

Verdict: Dublin

Kerry v Mayo

(tonight, Austin Stack Park, 7pm, live on RTE2/eir Sport 2)

A DRAW would be enough for Kerry to seal their spot in the Division One final but Peter Keane’s side will be chasing the win that would continue their 100 percent record. Speaking of records, Mayo’s dismal recent one against Galway was added to last time out – their seventh straight loss to the Tribesmen. This match was sold out by Wednesday – expectations are rising in the Kingdom.

Odds: H: 4/9 D: 15/2 A: 5/2

Verdict: Kerry

Division Two

Clare v Meath

(today, Cusack Park, 1.30pm)

CLARE have made remarkable progress in the last couple of years but the sight of the Meath jersey brings out the worst in them. Last year they lost their League clash by 14 points, it was 12 the year before. Meath are sitting top with eight points from 10, and they really should have defeated Donegal in round two.

Odds: H: 7/4 D: 15/2 A: 8/13

Verdict: Meath

Cork v Donegal

(today, Pairc Ui Rinn, 2pm)

THIS match has a real decisive feel to it despite there still being one more round after this. A Tir Chonaill win and they will be confident that they can still earn promotion, especially with the two above them – Fermanagh and Meath – to meet in round seven. A Cork loss would need them requiring a result away to Armagh next week to avoid relegation.

Odds: H: 15/8 D: 15/2 A: 4/7

Verdict: Donegal

Kildare v Tipperary

(today, Newbridge, 2.30pm)

KILDARE have lost Ben McCormack to a wrist injury and that’s a real blow as they chase the win that will keep their promotion hopes alive. Tipperary have let the momentum of their round three win over Donegal slip as they produced lacklustre displays in their defeats to Armagh and Cork.

Odds: H: 2/5 D: 15/2 A: 11/4

Verdict: Kildare

Armagh v Fermanagh

(today, Crossmaglen, 3pm)

ARMAGH are set to be without a lot of players – including suspended duo Stephen Sheridan and James Morgan – as they chase the win that would all but guarantee their Division Two safety. A win for Fermanagh would edge them extremely close to Division One football and they could have Barry Mulrone back.

Odds: H: 8/13 D: 7/1 A: 15/8

Verdict: Fermanagh

Division Three

Longford v Sligo

(today, Pearse Park, 2pm)

CONSECUTIVE defeats have dropped Longford from the promotion spots into a relegation battle but they really should be too strong for a Sligo side that have already been condemned to Division Four football next year.

Odds: H: 1/5 D: 11/1 A: 4/1

Verdict: Longford

Louth v Westmeath

(today, Drogheda, 2pm)

A LEINSTER derby with a lot at stake as second-placed Westmeath travel to third-placed Louth. The Wee county have caught the eye under Wayne Kierans although a one-point loss to Carlow last time halted their positive momentum. Westmeath manged a 13-point tally in three of their first four games – and just 0-9 in the other against Down – but the 3-12 managed against lowly Sligo in round five may spark something.

Odds: H: 11/8 D: 15/2 A: 8/11

Verdict: Westmeath

Offaly v Laois

(today, O'Connor Park, 2pm)

IT’S a big games for both sides as Offaly need points to keep their survival hopes alive while Laois are fighting desperately to get back into the promotion picture. O’Moore boss John Sugrue has made three changes from the side that defeated Longford with Trevor Collins, Eoin Lowry and Colm Murphy coming in.

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

Verdict: Laois

Carlow v Down

(today, Netwatch Cullen Park, 3pm)

IT’S hard to escape the Steven Poacher element to this and Down must prepare for a vociferous home support. Paddy Tally’s side have looked a cut above in Division Three this year and promotion can be secured if they avoid defeat.

Odds: H: 7/4 D: 13/2 A: 8/13

Verdict: Down

Division Four

London v Waterford

(today, McGovern Park, 12.30pm)

LONDON have been good in Ruislip, losing by a point to Limerick before defeating Wexford. They can grab their second win of the campaign here.

Odds: H: 5/4 D: 7/1 A: 5/6

Verdict: London

Antrim v Wicklow

(today, Corrigan Park, 2pm)

IT has been a tough League campaign for Antrim. Lenny Harbinson’s side have lost three games by a point yet their aim in the next few weeks is to avoid the wooden spoon. John Evans’s Wicklow have lost two on the bounce.

Odds: H: 1/2 D: 15/2 A: 2/1

Verdict: Wicklow

Wexford v Limerick

(today, Innovate Wexford Park, 3pm)

LIMERICK have handed a debut to Louth native Stephen Keely in one of four changes for their trip to Wexford. Both sides are on four points so there is very little to play for here.

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

Verdict: Wexford

NATIONAL HURLING LEAGUE

Division One quarter-final

Galway v Wexford

(today, Pearse Stadium, 1.30pm, live on TG4)

THESE sides met at the same stage last year and Wexford won by a goal after a thriller and another great tie is expected. The Tribesmen will be without their St Thomas’ contingent and that may just open the door for Wexford. Davy Fitzgerald’s side have already defeated Cork, Tipperary and Kilkenny this season.

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

Verdict: Wexford

Waterford v Clare

(today, Walsh Park, 3pm, live on TG4)

WATERFORD produced a stirring comeback against Galway last week as, with the help of the wind in the second half, they came from 10 points down at the break to win by two points. Both sides were absent from the 2017 and 2018 semi-finals but the claustrophobic surroundings of Walsh Park may just give Waterford the edge to secure a return to the last four.

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

Verdict: Waterford

Tipperary v Dublin

(today, Semple Stadium, 4.30pm)

TIPPERARY had to endure a bit of criticism lately but they answered it in style last week as they went to Cork and came back with a 1-29 to 1-16 win – and that was even after they took their foot off the gas in the final quarter. Dublin topped the Division 1B table but are unlikely to upset the odds in Thurles.

Odds: H: 2/9 D: 12/1 A: 4/1

Verdict: Tipperary

Division 1A relegation play-off

Kilkenny v Cork

(today, Nowlan Park, 2pm)

The term ‘relegation play-off’ is a bit of a misnomer here as the loser isn’t relegated, just placed in one particular division for the new 2020 League. Suspension disputes have been the storyline for this clash. Seamus Harnedy (Cork) and Kilkenny’s Conor Delaney were sent off last week but the GAA have confirmed that their bans will apply for their Championship openers.

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

Verdict: Kilkenny

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