Allianz Football League Division 1 Round 2
Sunday 5th February
Kerry v Monaghan, Fitzgerald Stadium, 1.30pm – TG4
Both of these teams badly need a win after opening round defeats. Kerry’s loss to Donegal would have stung the All-Ireland champions, coming as it did courtesy of a late Patrick McBrearty winner.
Monaghan’s narrow defeat to Armagh was compounded by a hamstring injury suffered by Jack McCarron that will rule him out of this game.
This is Kerry’s first competitive match in front of their home supporters since winning last year’s All-Ireland and they’ll be keen to put on a show, but Monaghan are always obdurate opponents.
Galway v Roscommon, Pearse Stadium, 2pm
An intriguing tie between provincial rivals who both impressed last weekend. Galway will feel they should have beaten rather than drawn with Mayo, but still took more positives than negatives from the match.
Whereas Roscommon produced arguably the performance of the round to come from behind with a late blitz to beat Tyrone and give Davy Burke the perfect start to his reign.
Galway will surely be motivated by last year’s loss to their neighbours in last year’s Division Two Final, and this is likely to be another tight affair.
Tyrone v Donegal, O’Neills Healy Park, 2pm
Tyrone will be desperate to bounce back from a disappointing opening round defeat to Roscommon. Darren McCurry was their brightest spark that day after coming on for the second half, and will surely be their go-to man in this game.
Donegal will be buoyed by their opening round victory over Kerry, particularly as they were missing so many players. The likes of Caolan McGonagle and Conor O’Donnell really impressed and it’ll be interesting to see if Paddy Carr’s team can back that performance up with another positive one.
Armagh v Mayo, Box-It Athletic Grounds, 3.30pm – TG4
These two teams have produced some hard-fought games in recent times and this should be another one. Armagh hit the ground running with a first round win over Monaghan when Rian O’Neill, Stefan Campbell, Aidan Nugent, and Tiernan Kelly all looked sharp in attack.
Mayo displayed typical character when coming from behind to draw with Galway, with Ryan O’Donoghue in particular starring in that game. Mayo’s edge in midfield could be decisive, but this will be a game of fine margins.
Allianz FL Division 2 round 2
Sunday, February 5
Meath v Clare, Páirc Tailteann, 2pm
Colm O’Rourke got his tenure as Meath manager off to a flier with a high-scoring win over old rivals Cork last weekend. Some of his team’s attacking play was brilliant at times, with Shane Walsh, Jordan Morris, and Cillian O’Sullivan especially impressive.
Clare staged a Lazarus comeback against Louth by scoring four injury-time points to win by one. They’re always determined opponents and will make this game a hard one for Meath, but the greater firepower of the Royals makes them favourites.
Kildare v Cork, Newbridge, 2pm
Both these teams need a win here to stay in the promotion hunt after opening round defeats to Dublin and Meath respectively. Kildare will have taken more positives from their match, losing by just a single point to Dublin in the end and taking the game to their much vaunted rivals for long stretches.
Cork had some good phases of play against Meath but the manner in which they were cut open for three goals will have given them food for thought. They can’t afford to be so porous at the back in this game.
Louth v Derry, Ardee, 2pm
Louth’s opening round defeat to Clare will have hurt them. They looked set for victory when they led by three points at the end of normal time, but then conceded four points in extra-time.
Lessons can be hard-won in Division Two, and this looks like it’ll be a stiff test against reigning Ulster champions Derry who looked good when easily beating Limerick last weekend.
Limerick v Dublin, TUS Gaelic Grounds, 3pm
Limerick had a tough day at the office last weekend when losing by 12 points away to Derry, so a visit of a Dublin team determined to bounce straight back to Division 1 doesn’t come at the best time.
Dublin were uncharacteristically sloppy at times in their one-point win over Kildare last weekend but you’d imagine they’ll sharpen up with every successive match they play.
Allianz FL Division 3 round 2
Saturday, February 4
Down v Antrim, Páirc Esler, 6pm
Sunday, February 5
Cavan v Tipperary, Kingspan Breffni, 2pm
Offaly v Fermanagh, Glenisk O’Connor Park, 2pm
Longford v Westmeath, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, 2pm
Early momentum is always important in a dog-eat-dog Division 3 and Fermanagh, Offaly, Down, and Cavan have it after wins last weekend.
That being the case, the meeting of Offaly and Fermanagh is arguably the most decisive match of the round this weekend. A win for either would leave them with two wins from two and would wound a rival for promotion.
Fermanagh weren’t heralded as promotion favourites before last weekend, but were very impressive in their win over Longford, while Offaly put Antrim away without too much difficulty.
Cavan avenged their Tailteann Cup defeat to Westmeath and will fancy their chances against a Tipperary team who will be dismayed after losing team captain Conor Sweeney to a season-ending cruciate ligament injury last weekend.
Down look like a renewed force under Conor Laverty and will fancy their chances of making it two wins from two when they face Antrim.
Westmeath will be slight favourites to beat Longford, but there’s never much between the Leinster rivals.
Allianz FL Division 4 round 2
Saturday, February 4
Waterford v Carlow, SETU Arena, Carriganore, 5pm
Sunday, February 5
London v Leitrim, McGovern Park, 1pm
Wicklow v Sligo, Aughrim, 2pm
Laois v Wexford, Laois Hire O’Moore Park, 2pm
Leitrim and Laois were the only two teams in Division 4 to win their first round matches with Carlow, Wicklow, London, and Wexford all drawing.
There’s a nice energy about this Leitrim team under Andy Moran, but a trip to Ruislip to play London will be a testing one. The exiles claimed a morale-boosting draw away to Wexford and will be keen to build on that result.
Laois’ win over Sligo in Round one seemed like a significant one because Sligo would have been one of the favourites for promotion from this division. Paul Kingston, Eoin Lowry, and Even O’Carroll are all dangerous forwards and will make life tough for the Wexford defence.
Sligo will be keen to prove they’re better than they showed against Laois in what’s already a must-win game against Wicklow, while Carlow will fancy their chances against a Waterford team that was well-beaten by Leitrim last time out.