Allianz Football League Division One

Saturday 28th January
Monaghan v Armagh, Castleblayney, 6.30pm, BBC iPlayer
Mayo v Galway, Hastings Insurance MacHale Park, 7.30pm, RTE 2

Sunday 29th January
Roscommon v Tyrone, Dr Hyde Park, 1.30pm,
Donegal v Kerry, Ballybofey, 2pm

A number of attractive matches are scheduled at the weekend.

Undoubtedly significant interest surrounds Mayo’s latest encounter with Galway in Castlebar.

Kevin McStay’s arrival as Mayo manager with a highly regarded backroom team ensures the green and red outfit will be especially eager to impress.

Lee Keegan’s retirement and Oisín Mullin’s switch to the AFL, though, are setbacks for Mayo, who recently captured the Connacht FBD League title.

Some encouraging moments were available in victories over Galway and Roscommon, but Pádraic Joyce’s charges, who trailed by 11 points at one stage, came close to pinching a win.

Club commitments have disturbed Galway’s preparations, but Joyce, who is intent on increasing the depth of the panel, will afford some returning and emerging players opportunities to shine.

At Castleblayney Monaghan’s tussle with Armagh should be lively.

In the 2022 league Armagh summoned some dynamic displays and had some fine moments in the championship too. Kieran McGeeney’s side will know, though, that Monaghan carry a real threat in Castleblayney.

Vinny Corey gave distinguished service to Monaghan as a player and is now in charge of a team with a nice blend of youth and experience.

Dr Hyde Park provides the backdrop for another crucial early fixture in the competition between Roscommon and Tyrone.

Davy Burke brings plenty of ideas and enthusiasm to Roscommon with Keith Doyle prominent in the FBD League.

Unearthing a couple of players is one of Roscommon’s objectives, but this match against Tyrone will be demanding.

While the Dr McKenna Cup final finished in disappointment for Tyrone that tournament illustrated Cathal McShane and Darragh Canavan’s relevance.

In 2022 Tyrone struggled to generate momentum so Fergal Logan and Brian Dooher will want to summon impressive league displays.

Kerry are expected to be without two thirds of their All-Ireland final starting XV for the lengthy trip to Ballybofey.

Still Jack O’Connor will be hoping that others can make a real contribution in the opening weeks of the Allianz Football League.

Donegal, now under the stewardship of Paddy Carr, will be without Michael Murphy as Paddy McBrearty assumes the captaincy.

McBrearty will be an influential figure for Donegal, who feature plenty of talented performers. Producing a gritty home display against the standard bearers is the mission Donegal want to accomplish on Sunday.

Allianz Football League Division Two

Saturday 28th January
Derry v Limerick, Owenbeg, 3pm
Dublin v Kildare, Croke Park, 5pm

Sunday 29th January
Cork v Meath, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 1.30pm,
Clare v Louth, Cusack Park, 2pm

With the new Championship format Division Two carries added significance in 2023.

The fact that Dublin are involved too brings another sub-plot with the Croke Park clash against Kildare an important encounter.

Kildare’s underage promise has been well documented so this match will be a decent test for Glen Ryan’s outfit.

Dublin have been boosted by the return of some key players so it will be interesting to see how Dessie Farrell re-introduces them to competitive action.

Lee Gannon’s breakthrough campaign last year bodes well so Dublin will also want to bring through other capable footballers.

Derry’s Dr McKenna Cup triumph perfectly illustrated the improvement under Rory Gallagher.

The Ulster Championship win was a noteworthy achievement with Shane McGuigan and Paul Cassidy prominent so far in January too.

Opponents Limerick, now with the well respected Ray Dempsey in charge, have made huge progress during the past few seasons.

Competing in Division Two is the next task for Limerick, who know that a demanding assignment awaits in Owenbeg.

The McGrath Cup mightn’t top the list of priorities, but it still offered hope for Cork, who host Colm O’Rourke’s Leeside at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Cork’s performances and results were efficient with John Cleary’s management set-up bolstered by Kevin Walsh’s arrival.

That is one of the chief talking points, but Meath, also featuring a competent coaching ticket, will want to make a statement too.

Colm Collins’ diligent efforts with Clare continue, but the absence of the prolific David Tubridy is a factor.

Nonetheless Clare have been nicely represented in the Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup with a new wave of talent beginning to emerge.

Louth have developed smartly with Mickey Harte at the helm. A couple of promotions showcase the value Harte places in being consistent. This game in Ennis will be revealing.

Allianz Football League Division Three

Saturday 28th January
Fermanagh v Longford, Ederney, 2pm
Tipperary v Down, FBD Semple Stadium, 6pm

Sunday 29th January
Westmeath v Cavan, TEG Cusack Park, 2pm
Antrim v Offaly, Corrigan Park, 2pm

Paddy Christie signalled his intention to treat the O’Byrne Cup seriously before Christmas.

Longford subsequently won the competition, delivering some splendid displays too, setting them up for a highly competitive Division Three.

An awkward away trip to Fermanagh will be a challenge for the midlanders.

Down’s McKenna Cup industry was evident, but a trip to Thurles is a dangerous game for Conor Laverty’s evolving team.

David Power remains passionate about the Tipperary footballing cause and knows the value of making a healthy start in the league.

A repeat of the inaugural Tailteann Cup final takes place in Mullingar on Sunday when Westmeath entertain Cavan.

Dessie Dolan has replaced Jack Cooney as Westmeath manager, but the silverware gleaned in 2022 means the Lake County enter the new campaign armed with confidence.

Cavan’s panel is sprinkled with quality footballers and having drifted from top division to the lowest, they will want maintain the improvement by launching a second promotion bid on the spin themselves.

Antrim’s meeting with Offaly is a key match for two counties intent on making strides.

Andy McEntee brings a wealth of knowledge to Antrim, while new Offaly boss Liam Kearns has shown his managerial ability with Limerick and Tipperary too.

Integrating some of Offaly’s successful underage teams will be part of the role, getting back to Division Two is crucial for the long term prospects.

Allianz Football League Division Four

Saturday 28th January
Carlow v Wicklow, Netwatch Cullen Park, 7pm
Wexford v London, Chadwicks Wexford Park, 7pm

Sunday 29th January
Leitrim v Waterford, Avant Money Páirc Seán MacDiarmada, 1pm
Sligo v Laois, Markievicz Park, 2pm

Hope is attached at the start of a new campaign with several counties believing that promotion is attainable.

It means the opening weekend fixtures are vital with the Saturday night Netwatch Cullen Park encounter set to be hard fought.

Oisín McConville’s appointment as Wicklow manager is significant with Kevin Quinn showcasing his talent on the inter-county stage in recent years.

Potential exists in Wicklow, but neighbours Carlow will be especially eager to respond following a disappointing league in 2022.

John Hegarty has carried out impressive work at club level so Wexford will be similarly intent on enjoying a productive stint.

Hegarty played during an excellent era for Wexford football, but London will be dangerous opponents this weekend.

Michael Maher’s charges won three matches in last year’s league with Liam Gavaghan still a key figure for London.

On Sunday in Carrick-on-Shannon Andy Moran’s Leitrim, who claimed four League victories in 2022, face Waterford.

Keith Beirne remains a capable forward for Leitrim, who will want to make a positive start on home turf.

Relegated into Division Four, Laois first outing is a tough trip to Markievicz Park for a clash against Sligo.

Tony McEntee’s outfit lost to Cavan and Tipperary last year in the league, but won their other five fixtures.

With some emerging players beginning to settle at senior level, Sligo feature the classy Niall Murphy as captain.