SFC previews: The Supers 8s are here!

July 13, 2018

Fans queue to have their bags searched outside Croke Park before the All-Ireland SFC quarter-final double-header involving Galway, Kerry, Mayo and Roscommon.
©INPHO/James Crombie.

After months of build-up and excitement, the inaugural Super 8s are very nearly upon us and here we preview all four Phase 1 games taking place at Croke Park this weekend.

 

Saturday, July 14th

All-Ireland SFC quarter-final phase 1

Tyrone v Roscommon, Croke Park, 5pm - Sky

The meeting of these two will mark the first ever game to be played in the Super 8s and while it will be a historic occasion for the GAA, you can be sure that neither will bat an eyelid once David Gough throws the first ball in the air at Croke Park.

Winning will be what matters most and it's not hard to understand why when you look at the group Tyrone and Roscommon have been drawn into here.

Donegal and Dublin completely and utterly dominated their respective provinces to reach this last eight stage and are hotly-fancied to advance to the semis. Nothing that Tyrone or Roscommon have done this summer so far would suggest either of them tearing up the script in this group.

However, that could all change come Saturday as they battle it out for only the fourth time ever in the championship (Tyrone have won all three previous meetings).

The Red Hands are unchanged from their bashing of an out of sorts Cork side last weekend, while Rossies boss Kevin McStay has opted to bring in his scoring subs Fintan Cregg and Cathal Compton from the hard fought win over Armagh.

Verdict: Tyrone

Donegal v Dublin, Croke Park, 7pm - RTE

It may be a new format for the quarter-finals but you can expect the same old Dublin to show up at Croke Park on Saturday evening to take on Donegal for the second time in three seasons at this juncture.

While Jim Gavin's team have been their usual ruthless selves, dominating Leinster once again, up to this point, Donegal have done likewise up north - breezing past Cavan, Derry, Down and Fermanagh to collect Ulster title number nine.

Declan Bonner couldn't have really asked for much more from his players heading into these inaugural Super 8s but he certainly would have loved to have a fully fit Paddy McBrearty at his disposal, particularly for Saturday's opener against the Dubs.

The Kilcar sensation may not have been at his absolute brilliant best in the Ulster championship, but he was still the Tir Chonaill men's top scorer in it with 0-19 and the cruciate injury he sustained in the final victory over Fermanagh may well prove a costly blow to Bonner as things unfold in the second half of the summer.

Barring the suspended John Small, the All-Ireland champions are set to have a full pack for this weekend with veteran forward Bernard Brogan also nearing closer and closer to his comeback for good measure.

Verdict: Dublin

 

Sunday, July 15th

All-Ireland SFC quarter-final phase 1

Kildare v Monaghan, Croke Park, 2pm - Sky

Monaghan boss Malachy O'Rourke has talked up Kildare's "momentum" ahead of this one, citing an all-round improvement from his team to halt it come Sunday afternoon at headquarters.

The turnaround from the Lilywhites over the past few weeks has been impressive to say the least, and they'll be keen to continue it this weekend as they make their return to Croke Park looking to keep the positive vibes flowing.

The likes of Neil and Daniel Flynn are certainly capable of doing that for their county, having combined for 4-32 so far this summer, and Monaghan's defence will have to be on its guard to ensure that the unrelated Flynns don't inflict them with irreversible damage.

To no real surprise, Conor McManus tops the Farney scoring charts after five games and the form of fellow attacker Conor McCarthy over the last few games has been very encouraging.

Sunday's early throw-in at Croker is set to mark Monaghan's toughest game since losing out to Fermanagh in the Ulster semi-finals, as they try to halt that energy Kildare have gained from recent victories over the Erne men and Mayo.

Verdict: Draw

Kerry v Galway, Croke Park, 4pm - RTE

The timing of this one has come in for criticism from some quarters as it clashes directly with the World Cup final between Croatia and France in Moscow.

Kerry and Galway minds will be far away from the Russian capital come 4pm on Sunday though as they get set to battle it out at this stage in the championship for the second successive year.

The Kingdom have had four wins to date over Sunday's opposition at the quarter-final stage and are 4/11 favourites with the bookmakers to make it five, having dominated Munster last month for an 80th provincial title.

Galway certainly earned their Connacht crown just as equally, having had to beat fellow big guns in Mayo and Roscommon to secure victory in the western province, but Sunday sees Kevin Walsh plotting what would arguably be his biggest victory to date since taking over his home county in 2014.

Back-boned by All-Ireland minor winning stars, Kerry have loaded up on talent once again and if the Tribesmen know that an upset in this one - which would mark a first championship win over the Munster kingpins since 1965 - would be a huge step towards a long-awaited All-Ireland semi-final berth.

Verdict: Kerry

You can follow all of this weekend's action from the All-Ireland SFC Super 8s and All-Ireland SHC quarter-finals on the hoganstand.com live match tracker.



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