Preview: This weekend’s provincial football championship action:

Saturday 6th April

Connacht SFC quarter-final
London v Galway in McGovern Park, Ruislip at 3pm

Galway’s Allianz Football League campaign was badly disrupted by injuries to key players, but that may yet prove to be a blessing in disguise for the Tribesmen as they commence their championship campaign.

Young players like Cillian Ó Curraoin, Liam Ó Conghaile, Jack McCabe, and Patrick Egan were successfully blooded, and with their injury crisis now abating they should have greater strength in depth than ever when they have everyone to call upon.

London had a positive enough League campaign in Division Four. They defeated Waterford, drew with Tipperary, and were competitive in most of their other matches.

They’re always a hard nut to crack in McGovern Park, but even a Galway team without some star names should be too strong for them.

LONDON: Michael Lynch; Daire Rooney, Matt Moynihan, Fiontan Eastwood; Oran Kerr, Eoin Walsh, Tighe Barry; Liam Gallagher, Stephen Dornan; DJ O’Flaherty, Daniel Clarke, Ciaran Diver; Joshua Obahor, Shay Rafter, Nathan McElwaine. Subs: Andrew Walsh, Caolan Mulgrew, Gareth McDowell, Luke Kelly, Michael Carroll, Michael Miller, Patrick Dolan, Ruairi Rafferty, Ryan Tohill, Sean McMonagle, Sean Tucker

GALWAY: Connor Gleeson, Johnny McGrath, Seán Fitzgerald, Jack Glynn; Dylan McHugh, John Daly, Liam Silke; Paul Conroy, Seán Kelly; Johnny Heaney, Cathal Sweeney, Cein Darcy; Robert Finnerty, Cillian Ó Curraoin, Liam Ó Conghaile. Subs: Conor Flaherty, Kieran Molloy, Séan Mulkerrin, Daniel Ó Flaherty, Eoin Kelly, Ciaran Brady, Niall Daly, Patrick Egan, Jack McCabe, Rory Cunningham, Tomo Culhane

Sunday 7th April

Connacht SFC quarter-finals
New York v Mayo in Gaelic Park at 8pm (Irish time)

It was no surprise to hear that this match was already a sell-out by the start of this week. Mayo always travel in big numbers and New York supporters are still buzzing after last year’s history-making victory over Leitrim.

Mayo come into the Championship after a decent League that saw them win more than they lost. Fergal Boland’s form in attack is a major plus point, they’ve better options in midfield than most other counties, and Sam Callinan is developing into a defender of the very first rate.

Apart from Boland and Ryan O’Donoghue, Mayo lacked consistent score-getters during the League, so that remains their Achilles heel.

They should still have more than enough firepower for New York, but stiffer tests lie ahead and Mayo supporters will be hoping another forward or two catches fire as the championship progresses.

NEW YORK: Joseph Grace; Shane Bolger, Jamie Boyle, Tadhg O’Riordan; Shane Brosnan, Cian O’Dea, Robert Wharton; James Walsh, Emmet O’Connghaile; Tiernan Mathers, Frank O’Reilly, Pierce Lillis; Sean Reilly, Michael Argue, Killian Butler. Subs: Ryan Corrigan, Michael Boyle, Israel Ilunga, Caolain Mathers, Peter Fox, Adam Loughlin Stones, Liam Kearney, Jordan Ajani, Niall McCarthy, Michael Brosnan, Jack Reilly

MAYO: Colm Reape; Jack Coyne, Rory Brickenden, Sam Callinan; Paddy Durcan, Stephen Coen, Eoghan McLaughlin; David McBrien, Matthew Ruane; Bob Tuohy, Fergal Boland, Jack Carney; Aidan O’Shea, Tommy Conroy, Ryan O’Donoghue. Subs: Rob Hennelly, Aaron McDonnell, Cillian O’Connor, Conor Hunt, Conor McStay, Darren McHale, Enda Hession, Fenton Kelly, Michael Plunkett, Pádraig O’Hora, Paul Towey

Leitrim v Sligo in Avant Money Pairc Sean MacDiarmada at 3.30pm

Both teams had positive League campaigns. Leitrim won promotion from Division 4 and Sligo more than held their own back up in Division 3 with a final round victory over eventual champions Westmeath a real stand-out result.

It’ll be interesting to see whether Leitrim’s heavy defeat to Laois in the Division Four Final will have taken a mental toll. Their defence was cut apart at times in that game and they’ll need to tighten up considerably if they’re to come away with the win here.

Sligo reached last year’s Connacht Final and learned a lot from All-Ireland group stage campaign. It looks like they’re timed their run into form well and if they can get a decent supply of ball into forwards like Niall Murphy, Alan McLoughlin and Cian Lally, you’d fancy them here.

LEITRIM: Nevin O Donnell; Conor Reynolds, Mark Diffley, Aidan Flynn; Donal Wrynn, Mark Plunkett, Adam Reynolds; Jack Gilheany, Pearce Dolan; Tom Prior, Ryan O Rourke, Paul Keaney; Riordan O’ Rourke, Darragh Rooney, Evan Sweeney. Subs: Kilian Gaffey, James Rooney, Kieran Clancy, Stephen McLoughlin, Jamie McGreal, Radek Oberwan, Jack Flynn, Shane Quinn, Conor Quinn, Barry Mc Nulty, Jack Foley

SLIGO: Aidan Devaney; Evan Lyons, Eddie McGuinness, Paul McNamara; Peter Laffey, Nathan Mullen, Darragh Cummins; Sean Carrabine, Canice Mulligan; Cian Lally, Alan McLaughlin, Eoghan Smith; Paul Kilcoyne, Niall Murphy, Lee Deignan. Subs: Daniel Lyons, Brian Cox, Daire O’Boyle, Donal Conlon, Dylan Walsh, Keelan Cawley, Patrick O’Connor, David Quinn, Mikey Gordon, Mark Walsh, Luke Casserly

Leinster SFC round 1
Westmeath v Wicklow in Laois Hire O’Moore Park at 3.30pm

Westmeath will come into this match with their tails up after last weekend’s Allianz Football League Division 3 Final victory over Down.

Under manager Dessie Dolan they’ve become a very tactically astute side and they showcased that last weekend as they stifled Down’s running game and then hit them clinically on the break.

Last year’s experience of playing in the All-Ireland group series when they were somewhat unfortunate not to qualify for the knock-out stages seems to have imbued the team with a self-confidence that should serve them well in this year’s provincial campaign.

That self-assurance might be harder to source for a Wicklow team that was relegated from Division 3 during a campaign in which they were beaten by six points by Westmeath.

Since then the Lake County have arguably gotten stronger while Wicklow have gone in the opposite direction.

WESTMEATH: Jason Daly; Daniel Scahill, Charlie Drumm, James Dolan; Nigel Harte, David Lynch, Sam McCartan; Ray Connellan, Andy McCormack; Jonathan Lynam, Ronan O’Toole, Conor Dillon; Luke Loughlin, Robbie Forde, Stephen Smith. Subs: Trevor Martin, Matthew Whittaker, Senan Baker, Jack Smith, Shane Allen, Conor McCormack, Eoin Mulvihill, Lorcan Dolan, Eoghan McCabe, John Heslin, Ronan Wallace

WICKLOW: Shane Doyle; Tom Moran, Jack Treacy, Eoin Murtagh; Matt Nolan, Patrick O Keane, Gavin Fogarty; Dean Healy, Craig Maguire; Darragh Fee, Christopher O Brien, Jack Kirwan; Jonathan Carlin, Kevin Quinn, John Paul Nolan. Subs: Cathal Fitzgerald, Brian Nesbitt, Cillian Mc Donald, Gearoid Murphy, Joe Prendergast, Oisin Mc Graynor, Adam Arslan, Jaques Mc Call, Martin Cullen, Liam O Neill, Dan Cooney

Longford v Meath in Glennon Bros Pearse Park at 3pm

Meath are boosted by the return to fitness of Jordan Morris who makes his first appearance of the year after knee surgery.

He’s named in a dangerous full-forward line along with Matthew Costello and James Conlon that could do some damage given a decent supply of ball.

It’s hard to know what to expect from a Longford team that were very disappointing in their final game of the League but prior to that had strung four wins in a row together.

They’ll relish the opportunity to have a cut off a young Meath team in Glennon Bros Pearse Park, but the greater firepower the Royals possess should see them through.

LONGFORD: Patrick Collum; Patrick Fox, Oisín O’Toole, Liam Hughes; Bryan Masterson, Ryan Moffett, Dessie Reynolds; Darren Gallagher, Paddy Kiernan; Mark Hughes, Michael Quinn, Joseph Hagan; Daniel Reynolds, Daniel Mimnagh, Keelin Mc Gann. Subs: Mícheál Hughes, Darragh Finlass, Bryn Peters, Diarmuid Farrell, James Kiernan, Sean O’Sullivan; Ruairí Harkin, Jayson Matthews, Dáire Duggan, Dylan Farrell, Cathal McCabe

MEATH: Seán Brennan; Donal Keogan, Adam O’Neill, Harry O’Higgins; Ciarán Caulfield, Ross Ryan, Seán Coffey; Ronan Jones, Daithí McGowan; Shane Walsh, Eoghan Frayne, Cathal Hickey; Jordan Morris, Matthew Costello, James Conlon. Subs: Billy Hogan, Cian McBride, Darragh Campion, Jack O’Connor, Ronan Ryan, Michael Murphy, Keith Curtis, Aaron Lynch, Ruairí Kinsella, Jason Scully, Seán Rafferty

Wexford v Carlow in Chadwicks Wexford Park at 2.30pm

When these two teams met in the League it was Wexford who won comfortably enough on a final score-line of 1-14 to 0-7.

The Slaneysiders finished their League campaign very strongly and could count themselves unfortunate to miss out on promotion to Division 3 on the head-to-head rule.

Carlow have a happy knack of producing a big display when they’re pegged as the underdog, but Wexford go into this game as favourites for a good reason.

They averaged 21 points a game over their last four matches in the League and that sort of scoring power should give them an edge here.

WEXFORD: Rory Tubritt; Eoin Porter, Gavin Sheehan, Darragh Lyons; Kevin O’Grady, Dylan Furlong, Glen Malone; Liam Coleman, Niall Hughes; Páraic Hughes, Eoghan Nolan, Mark Rossiter; Graeme Cullen, Sean Nolan, Conor Kinsella. Subs: Graham Staples, Liam O’Connor, Conor Carty, Shane Doyle, Cathal Walsh, Jonathon Bealin, Liam Doyle, Dean O’Toole, Tom Byrne, Shane Pettit, Ben Brosnan

CARLOW: Johnny Furey; Colin Byrne, Mark Furey, Dara Curran; Mikey Bambrick, Conor Doyle, Shane Clarke; John Murphy, Niall Hickey; Aaron Amond, Colm Hulton, Conor Crowley, Ross Dunphy, Jamie Clarke, Paddy McDonnell. Subs: Ciaran Cunningham, Eric Molloy, Bryan McMahon, Josh Moore, Cormac Lomax, Shane Buggy, Kevin Murphy, Jamie Lunney, Cathal Kelly

Munster SFC quarter-finals
Waterford v Tipperary in Fraher Field at 2pm

When these two teams met in the League the spoils were shared an another tight battle is anticipated here.

Waterford haven’t won a match in the Munster Championship since 2010 but with home advantage will feel like they have a great chance to break that duck here.

Tipperary are without their League top-scorer, Sean O’Connor, and with Conor Sweeney and Steven O’Brien also out injured they’re lacking a cutting edge in attack.

The Premier County still go into this game as favourites regardless, but don’t be surprised if Waterford end their long wait for a championship win

WATERFORD: Paudie Hunt; Ross Browne, Caoimhín Walsh, Conor McCarthy; Billy O’Keeffe, Dermot Ryan, Robbie McGrath; Michael Curry, Jason Curry; Caolan MacCraith, Donie Fitzgerald, William Beresford; Stephen Curry, Tom O’Connell, James Power. Subs: Aaron Beresford, Alan Dunwoody, Sean Whelan-Barrett, Conor Ó Cuirrín, Billy Hynes, Michael Mullaney, James Walsh, Jason Sheehan, Michael O’Brien, Joe Booth, Caoimhín Maguire

TIPPERARY: Evan Comerford; Tadhg Condon, Jimmy Feehan, Colm O Shaughnessy; James Morris, Paudie Feehan, Kieran Costello; Stephen Grogan, Conall Kennedy; Conor Cadell, Cathal Deely, Peter McGarry; Riain Quigley, Mark Stokes, Jack Kennedy. Subs: Jack Rogers, Luke Boland, Teddy Doyle, Jack Kennedy, Jack Leamy, Emmet Moloney, Shane Neville, Shane O’Connell, Rory O’Dowd, Mark Russell, Conor Sweeney.

Cork v Limerick in Pairc Ui Chaoimh at 2pm

Cork bring some impressive momentum into this match after a Division 2 League campaign that saw them win three and draw one of their last four matches. Limerick, in contrast, didn’t register a single point in Division 3.

The Rebels have named a strong looking team that includes quality players like Seán Powter, Brian O’Driscoll, and Brian Hurley in attack.

The cutting edge should see them starting their provincial campaign with a win.

CORK: Christopher Kelly; Kevin Flahive, Daniel O’ Mahony, Tommy Walsh; Luke Fahy, Sean Meehan, Matty Taylor; Ian Maguire, Colm O’Callaghan; Paul Walsh, Seán Powter, Brian O’ Driscoll; Chris Óg Jones, Conor Corbett, Brian Hurley. Subs: Míchéal Aodh Martin, Maurice Shanley, Darragh Cashman, Thomas Clancy, Kevin O’Donovan, David Buckley, Eoghan McSweeney, John O’ Rourke, Ruairi Deane, Mark Cronin, Steven Sherlock.

LIMERICK: Josh Ryan; Darren O’Doherty, Sean O’Dea, Brian O’Sullivan; Cormac Woulfe, Cillian Fahy, Paul Maher; Tommy Childs, Emmet Rigter; Bryan Nix, Cathal Downes, James Naughton; Peter Nash, Rob Childs, Danny Neville. Subs: Aaron O’Sullivan, Jamie Baynham, Tommy Griffin, Diarmaid Kelly, Shane Costelloe, Ruadhan O’Connor, Shane Doherty, Tadgh Siochru, Eoin Hurley, John Hayes, Barry Coleman

Ulster SFC preliminary round
Monaghan v Cavan in Clones at 4pm

Rory Beggan has been named on the bench for Monaghan for this Ulster SFC preliminary round tie having missed the entirety of the League through his involvement with the NFL International Player Pathway programme.

The other thing to note about the Monaghan XV is that the evergreen Conor McManus starts in the full-forward line having missed almost all of the League through injury.

Monaghan were relegated from Division One but showed a lot of spirit in their final two games of the campaign against Tyrone and Mayo and could be primed for a big performance here.

Cavan’s League campaign in Division 2 petered out after a promising start, and they’ve made several changes to the team that were defeated by Fermanagh in their final match of the campaign with experienced quartet Padraig Faulkner, Killian Brady, Gerard Smith, and Cian Madden coming into the XV.

This is likely to be a game of very fine margins but Monaghan’s inside forward line of David Garland, Jack McCarron, and McManus could make the difference

MONAGHAN: Darren McDonnell; Ryan Wylie, Kieran Duffy, Ryan O’Toole; Karl O Connell, Killian Lavelle, Conor McCarthy; Gary Mohan, Darren Hughes; Ciaran McNulty, Michael Hamill, Jason Irwin; David Garland, Jack McCarron, Conor McManus. Subs: Rory Beggan, Thomas McPhillips, Stephen Mooney, Sean Jones, Joel Wilson, Micheál Bannigan, Darragh McElearney, Kevin Loughran, Barry McBennett, Micheál McCarville, Colm Lennon

CAVAN: Gary O’Rourke; Cian Reilly, Killian Brady, Brían O’Connell; Padraig Faulkner, Niall Carolan, Conor Brady; James Smith, Oisin Kiernan; Ciarán Brady, Gerard Smith, Oisin Kiernan; Cian Madden, Paddy Lynch, Oisin Brady. Subs: Fergal O’Rourke, Mark Magee, Luke Fortune, Conor Rehill, Paddy Meade, Tristan Noack Hofmann, Ryan Donohoe, James Galligan, Tiarnan Madden, Cormac O’Reilly, Caoimhin O’Reilly.