Phase 1 of the Super 8s gets underway this weekend with four games taking place across different corners of the country. Here are our previews:
Saturday, July 13th
All-Ireland SFC quarter-final phase 1
Roscommon v Tyrone, Dr Hyde Park, 5pm – Sky
This will mark a second successive meeting between these two in the Super 8s, with Tyrone looking to replicate the doubles scores hammering (4-24 to 2-12) they gave the Rossies last year.
Mickey Harte’s men seem to be gaining momentum again after their Ulster semi-final loss to Donegal last month, with their 16-point drubbing of Cavan last time out setting them up nicely as they plot for the next three games.
Roscommon sprung a mild upset in the Connacht final against Galway and certainly have the ingredients in the likes of Enda Smith and Conor Cox to stall the Red Hands at Dr Hyde Park on Saturday evening.
The bookies make Anthony Cunningham’s men 10/3 outsiders, despite boasting home advantage here and having already scored victories over Mayo and, of course, the Tribesmen.
Peter Harte is cleared to line-out for Tyrone after having one of the three black cards he received this summer rescinded, which will undoubtedly be a colossal boost to the visitors.
Dublin v Cork, Croke Park, 7pm – RTE
Cork hit an impressive 4-20 against Laois last time out and now face their biggest test of the season to date in travelling to the capital.
The Rebels have to go back to their triumph year in 2010 for their last championship win over Dublin and are set to line-out at Croke Park on Saturday night as 12/1 underdogs to tear up the script on the hosts.
The Dubs find themselves in the All-Ireland SFC quarter-final stage for the 16th successive season off the back of another Leinster final victory which saw them with 16 points to spare over Meath.
Cormac Costello, Paul Mannion and Con O’Callaghan have been the form men up front for Jim Gavin’s charges and the Leesiders’ defence will have a mammoth task in trying to prevent them from finding the space at HQ to cause them irreversible damage.
Of course Cork have their own aces in attack, particularly in Brian Hurley who has hit 5-4 thus far this summer, but they’ll certainly be up against it on this occasion.
Sunday, July 14th
All-Ireland SFC quarter-final phase 1
Donegal v Meath, Ballybofey, 2pm – Sky
This one’s a repeat of the Division 2 final and since that time Donegal and Meath have also managed to dance on their respective provincial final stages.
The Tir Chonaill men defended their Anglo-Celt Cup crown comfortably against Cavan while, to no surprise, the Royals were sent into the fourth round of the qualifiers by all-conquering Dublin.
Coming through a sticky test against Clare in the backdoor has rewarded Andy McEntee’s men with at least three more games this summer, starting with a trip to Ballybofey this weekend.
The Ulster champions are red-hot favourites to open the Super 8s with a win on home turf and in Michael Murphy and Jamie Brennan they have two very much in-form attackers to get the job done for them.
Brennan, in particular, has been one of the stars of the 2019 championship and the anticipated match-up between the Bundoran man and the excellent Donal Keogan is set to be a fascinating one.
Kerry v Mayo, Killarney, 4pm – RTE
The clash of the weekend takes places at Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney where Kerry and Mayo cross swords once again in the latter stages of the championship.
Following a gutsy victory over Galway last weekend, Mayo find themselves in the mix again for a semi-final berth and make the trip south to the Kingdom this weekend as 15/8 underdogs.
The recent return of Cillian O’Connor to the Westerners’ attack has been a huge addition for manager James Horan, who will hope to see his fellow Ballintubber man surpass Colm Cooper as the All-Ireland SFC’s all-time top scorer on the way to a victory for his team.
O’Connor needs five points in Killarney to secure the record and the likes of him, Darren Coen and James Carr will take some watching from what many feel has been a shaky Kerry defence so far this summer.
The Munster champions have options to envy in attack but their backs will no doubt be tested here by another genuine outfit that are seemingly gaining momentum out of the qualifiers.
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