Football

Dublin and Mayo renew rivalry in Castlebar in round two of Allianz Football League

Dublin v Mayo
Dublin v Mayo Dublin's JamesMcCarthy and Mayo's Tommy Conroy in action during last year's All-Ireland quarter-final. The sides meet in Castlebar on Saturday Picture: Philip Walsh

SATURDAY

DIVISION ONE

Mayo v Dublin (Hastings Insurance MacHale Park,7.30pm, live on RTÉ2)

DUBLIN’S defeat to Monaghan last week backed up the notion that if you want to knock the Dubs get them early.

Stephen O’Hanlon and Michael Bannigan in particular carried through contact and ghosted in behind with ease at times against what was far from a second-string Dublin.

Ciaran Kilkenny, Cormac Costello, Brian Fenton, Eoin Murchan and Colm Basquel were among the scorers, while Lee Gannon, Jack McCaffrey and Con O’Callaghan were reduced to nought.

Should Dublin lose to Mayo, there will already be thoughts of their 2022 campaign. That one began with a Rian O’Neill show under Saturday night lights in Croker, and ended in relegation.

Mayo, for their part, were exceptional last weekend in Salthill, but just how poor were Galway?

An ineffective half-forward line gave licence for Paddy Durcan and Eoghan McLaughlin to run the show, while Sam Callinan has shown for both his county and UCD that he has developed a real presence in the backline, be it at full-back or centre-back.

Much has been made of Mayo’s poor home record, and Dublin may well be glad for a tighter pitch given the fact they were cut apart for three green flags seven days ago.

As we saw in last year’s Championship, Dessie Farrell’s men despise Mayo like no-one else. The Westerners will do well to keep Con O’Callaghan quiet two games running.

Odds H: 1/1 D: 13/2 A: 11/10

Verdict Dublin

DIVISION TWO (6pm)

Armagh v Meath (the BOX-IT Athletic Grounds)

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

Verdict Armagh

Fermanagh v Kildare (Brewster Park)

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

Verdict Kildare

DIVISION THREE

Down v Limerick (Pairc Esler, 6pm)

Odds H: 1/14 D: 16/1 A:15/2

Verdict Down

DIVISION FOUR (6pm)

Carlow v Waterford (Netwatch Cullen Park)

Odds H: 1/20 D: 20/1 A:8/1

Verdict Carlow

Wexford v Laois (Chadwicks Wexford Park)

Odds H: 3/2 D: 13/2 A:8/11

Verdict Laois

SUNDAY

DIVISION ONE

Monaghan v Kerry (St Tiernach’s Park,1pm, live on Sport TG4, deferred coverage on TG4)

MONAGHAN continue to stagger in Division One, something that has persisted so long that it doesn’t surprise anyone anymore.

What was different about last Saturday, however, was the panel. They have become accustomed to managing the minutes of Conor McManus and Darren Hughes, less so Rory Beggan, Conor Boyle, Sean Jones, Shane Carey and Allstar Conor McCarthy.

Colm Shalvey marked it out as 18 years since the Farney had won a Division One fixture without the former two. To repeat the trick this week is just as unenviable a task.

And consistency has been Monaghan’s big issue, one which has led to the last-gasp survival missions that have become a fetish.

There is a decent chance Kerry will turn to Conor Geaney for some attacking spark, with the Cliffords likely to continue a short-term hiatus off the back of successive extended club and county seasons.

Last year, it was Paudie who was the thorn in Monaghan’s side as the Kingdom prevailed 3-16 0-14 in the early Vinny Corey era.

Now is the time for Seán Ó Sé to step up and prove himself as a marquee forward. If Monaghan foul as they did in Croke Park, Ó Sé will punish, but it feels he’s bound to have a big game from play in him regardless.

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

Verdict Kerry

Roscommon v Galway (Dr Hyde Park, 2pm)

THE FBD League final between this pair a few weeks ago finished Roscommon 2-25 Galway 0-13.

You can’t get carried away with a pre-season game and you can’t get carried away with the League’s opening round, but if Galway continue on their current trajectory, they won’t be reaching any more finals in 2023.

The talk of players to return is rather cheap too, with Shane Walsh, Rob Finnerty, Kieran Molloy, John Daly and Matthew Tierney failing to fizzle.

At 34, Paul Conroy can’t be expected to dig the Tribesmen out of holes, while the fitness of Seán Kelly and Damien Comer seems to be an irresolvable problem.

And yet these players and this manager were minutes away from extra-time on the grandest stage of all just 18 months ago. Surely, things can’t be as bad as they seem.

Roscommon, for their, part showed us little of note in Omagh. While fortunate to be a man to the good, they failed to utilise it. Credit to Davy Burke, he shouldered the blame for a lack of scenario-based training against 14 men, but the best teams can adapt to play what’s in front of them.

Burke is sure to have learned a lot from the Rossies rip-roaring start to last year’s League. In the end, they seemed satisfied to avoid a League final, but their year ended so disappointingly in defeat to Cork.

The loser here is in trouble, but Roscommon look the smarter money right now.

Odds H: 5/4 D: 13/2 A: 5/6

Verdict Roscommon

Derry v Tyrone (Celtic Park, 3.45pm, live on TG4)

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

Verdict Derry

DIVISION TWO

Louth v Cork (DEFY Pairc Mhuire, 1pm)

IT seems that no matter what Louth do, they are resigned to nationwide claps on the back, a condescending, ‘Ah fair play to them’ rather than true recognition.

The bookies again have the odds stacked against them this weekend, despite a dismal Cork display in Ballybofey and an almighty Wee county showing in Armagh city.

The country is all too aware of Sam Mulroy, and it is perhaps telling of a lack of respect that he was held scoreless from play and his team-mates delivered last weekend.

Inniskeen’s Tommy Durnin is a Rolls-Royce of a midfielder, while the lightning Craig Lennon caused Armagh all sorts of issues. County player of the year for 2022, Niall Sharkey, wasn’t even in the squad for the opening defeat.

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

Verdict Louth

Cavan v Donegal (Kingspan Breffni, 4pm)

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

Verdict Donegal

DIVISION THREE

Sligo v Wicklow (Markiewicz Park, 1pm)

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

Verdict Wicklow

Antrim v Offaly (Corrigan Park, 2pm)

Odds H: 8/15 D: 7/1 A: 2/1

Verdict Antrim

Westmeath v Clare (TEG Cusack Park, 2pm)

Odds H: 1/5 D: 10/1 A: 9/2

Verdict Westmeath

DIVISION FOUR

Leitrim v London (Avant Money Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada, 1pm)

Odds H: 2/9 D: 10/1 A: 4/1

Verdict Leitrim

Longford v Tipperary (Glennon Bros Pearse Park, 2pm)

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

Verdict Longford