Preview: This weekend’s Allianz Football League action:

Allianz Football League Round 2
Saturday 3rd February

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

Mayo started their Allianz League campaign in very positive fashion last weekend with a convincing eight-point win over Galway.

Every component of their team worked well. Their defence conceded just six points from play, midfielders Jordan Flynn and Jack Carney were dominant, and Fergal Boland marked his return to the panel with an excellent display in attack.

Dublin, in contrast, were somewhat lethargic when losing at home to Monaghan. If they’re to avoid a second defeat on the trot they’ll need a defence that shipped three goals to tighten up, and forwards like Con O’Callaghan, Cormac Costello, and Ciaran Kilkenny to show a keener cutting edge.

The form-line points to a Mayo win, but there’s never much between these two.

Sunday 4th February

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

Mickey Harte’s reign as Derry manager got off to a very positive start with a Round 1 victory over Kerry.

It was a trademark Derry performance as they both defended and attacked in numbers and worked relentlessly throughout.

Tyrone, too, will be pleased with their first outing – a three-point win over Roscommon. Darragh Canavan was the star of show, scoring five point from play, but was in action again on Wednesday night in the Sigerson Cup so even if he plays here his batteries might be a bit drained.

The Red Hand County are using this League to blood new players – there were six debutants against Roscommon – and a more settled Derry team should take advantage.

Roscommon v Galway, Dr Hyde Park, 2pm

Both teams suffered opening round defeats but Roscommon would have been able to take more positives from their loss to Tyrone than Galway would from their limp display against Mayo.

Roscommon are likely to be boosted by the return of their St. Brigid’s players, and Ben O’Carroll in particular would be a big addition to an attack that struggled to make much headway against Tyrone.

Galway have something of an injury crisis at the moment with Shane Walsh, Damien Comer, Liam Silke, Sean Kelly, and Cillian McDaid all currently on the treatment table.

Roscommon looked poised to take advantage.

Monaghan v Kerry, Clones, 1pm (TG4 App)

Monaghan proved they’re building a panel with impressive strength in depth by beating Dublin in Croke Park last weekend without leading figures like Conor McManus, Rory Beggan, Conor McCarthy, Conor Boyle, Karl Gallagher, Shane Carey, and Darren Hughes.

Kerry, on the other hand, may reflect that they’re over-reliant on the Clifford brothers, David and Paudie, because they looked toothless in attack without them when losing in Round 1 to Derry last weekend.

They weren’t expected to play in this game either, but Jack O’Connor may decide that needs must with Kerry keen to get points on the board.

Monaghan will be buzzing after that win over Dublin and with home advantage will fancy taking another big scalp here.


Saturday3rd February

Armagh v Meath, Box-It Athletic Grounds, 6pm

Meath started five debutants against Fermanagh last weekend with several more coming on as subs, including former AFL player Cian McBride.

It was perhaps not surprising so that they struggled for fluency at times and ended up having to settle for a draw in a game most might have expected them to win.

Armagh are a more settled team at the moment and that experience combined with home advantage could give them an edge here.

Fermanagh v Kildare, Brewster Park, 6pm (BBC iPlayer)

Promoted from Division Three last year, Fermanagh proved they’ll be no pushovers in Division Two by drawing last weekend with Meath.

It was a game they probably should have won too, with the Royals scoring the last three points of the game to claim a share of the spoils.

Fermanagh are defensively very solid, and in Ultan Kelm have a hugely influential play-maker.

Kildare looked short on ideas in their defeat at home to Cavan last week, and unless they can find a way to get a better supply of ball to forwards like Drragh Kirwan and Jimmy Hyland they could struggle here again.

Sunday 4th February

Cavan v Donegal, Kingspan Breffni, 4pm

Both Cavan and Donegal were very impressive in their opening round victories over Kildare and Cork respectively.

Under new manager Raymond Galligan, Cavan were well-organised in defence and posed a very potent counter-attacking threat with Paddy Lynch at the tip of the spear.

Perhaps the Breffni County are too reliant on Lynch though, whereas Donegal have a greater range of threats in their attack.

Paddy McBrearty, Odhran Doherty, Daire O’Baoill and Ciaran Thompson were all in the groove against Cork, and that sort of firepower could give them an edge here.

Louth v Cork, Ardee, 1pm

Both of these teams lost their opening round matches, but Louth will take many more positives from their one-point defeat to Armagh than Cork will from their 11-point beating at the hands of Donegal.

Under new manager Ger Brennan Louth played very much like they did last year under Mickey Harte. Solid in defence, practical in possession, and dangerous on the counter-attack.

Cork’s game-plan wasn’t nearly as coherent against Donegal, and they’ll need to tighten up defensively if they’re to avoid another defeat here.


Saturday 3rd February

Down v Limerick, Pairc Esler, 6pm

Down looked very good in patches during their win over Wicklow last weekend but were also guilty of some lapses in concentration and Conor Laverty will demand a more consistent performance here.

Limerick are a difficult team to break down but just don’t have the same cutting edge in attack that Down do with forwards like Pat Havern, Liam Kerr, and Oisin Savage.

Sunday 4th February

Antrim v Offaly, Corrigan Park, 2pm

Antrim were impressive in their first-round win away to Limerick and possess serious punch in attack with forwards like Dominic McEnhill Ruairi McCann looking very sharp.

Offaly, in contrast, didn’t have much of a cutting edge against Westmeath. The form-line suggests a victory for Antrim.

Westmeath v Clare, TEG Cusack Park, 2pm

Both teams won their opening round matches without playing all that well, and and whichever can make it two from two here will feel like they’re really in the promotion picture.

With forwards like Ronan O’Toole, Luke Loughlin, and Senan Baker in good form, Westmeath might find scores easier to get than a Clare team that got just four points from play last weekend against Sligo.

Sligo v Wicklow, Markievicz Park, 1pm

These two teams came up from Division 4 last year and after both losing their opening round matches will already feel like this is a must-win fixture if they’re to retain their Division 3 status.

Sligo came out on top in last year’s Division 4 League Final and have the greater all-round quality to repeat the trick.


Saturday 3rd February

Carlow v Waterford, Netwatch Cullen Park, 6pm

Carlow will be feeling good about themselves after a first-round win over Tipperary whereas Waterford really struggled in their 15-point home defeat to Leitrim. Based on those two matches, this should be another win for Carlow.

Wexford v Laois, Chadwicks Wexford Park, 6pm

Laois were many people’s favourites for promotion at the outset of the competition and justified it with a hard-earned first-round win over a Longford team that won the O’Byrne Cup.

Wexford also won their first match, a victory on the road against London, and there won’t be much in this. But the attacking class of Mark Bary and Evan O’Carroll could give Laois an edge.

Sunday 4th February

Longford v Tipperary, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, 2pm

Both teams lost their first-round matches but Longford’s morale might be that bit higher as it’s only two weeks since they beat Dublin in the O’Byrne Cup Final.

If Tipperary are to come away with a win, they’ll need their other forwards to give Sean O’Connor more support in attack.

Leitrim v London, Avant Money Pairc Sean MacDiarmada, 1pm

Leitrim looked really sharp in their 15-point Round 1 win over Waterford so bring a lot of momentum into this game.

With forwards like Darragh Rooney and Riordan O’Rourke looking sharp and Keith Beirne yet to return to the team, Leitrim look like they have the firepower to seriously challenge for promotion.