Leitrim vs Tipperary could prove to be a relegation decider. If Leitrim wins by a large enough margin, Tipperary may find themselves in the bottom two. However, the Munster side did themselves no harm by beating Offaly last weekend.
Offaly v Derry, Tullamore, Sunday 25th 2pm in Division 3, we have live score commentary and team news
Offaly’s loss to Tipperary leaves them on the threshold of relegation to Division 4. Another defeat could condemn them to the bottom tier if Leitrim overcome Tiperrary. On the other hand, Derry earned themselves a slim shot at promotion by beating Longford. Two points from round 7 could leave them second if Down are shocked by Louth. Offaly vs Derry is at 2pm on Sunday.
The rust was evident in Offaly as they returned to action last weekend. They never played to their potential against Tipperary and were left chasing the game for much of the 7 minutes.
Yet, only a goal separated the teams. John Maughan will be disappointed with the result. But, there were encouraging signs in the performance and if he can get the best out of his team this weekend they will be safe.
On the other hand, Derry hit the ground running. They were patient and precise against a defensive Longford. Two goals went a long way towards the win. The first was a demonstration of good patient play before choosing when to strike.
Furthermore, Conor Glass came off the bench for Rory Gallagher’s side after returning from the AFL. Even if they fail to get promoted, Derry have reason to be optimistic about the Championship.
This year the championship is a straight knock-out format. Therefore, Maughan’s task in Leinster is an incomparable one. So, he may not reserve any of his strongest options for the game against Carlow on November 1st. Instead, remaining in Division 3 could be given priority and he’ll throw everything at this game.
Somewhat similarly, Derry open their Championship the week after this game. Despite having a strong Armagh side as their opponents, Gallagher will be hopeful about his team’s chances. As a result, he may opt to experiment against Offaly while he still can.
Offaly (Derry): Paddy Dunican; Declan Hogan, Eoin Rigney, Niall Darby; Eoin Carroll, John Moloney, Joseph O’Connor; Aaron Leavy, Jordan Hayes; Shane Horan, Ruairi McNamee, Cathal Mangan; Cian Farrell, Peter Cunningham, Bernard Allen.
Derry (Offaly): Odhran Lynch; Paul McNeill, Brendan Rogers, Conor McCluskey; Ethan Doherty, Christopher McKaigue, Padraig McGrogan; Ciaran McFaul, Conor Glass; Danny Tallon, Enda Lynn, Padraig Cassidy; Paul Cassidy, Shane McGuigan, Niall Loughlin.
Subs: Conlann Bradley, Conor Doherty, Carlus McWilliams, Oisin McWilliams, Michael McEvoy, Gavin O’Neill, Patrick Kearney, Emmett Bradley, Shea Downey, Niall Toner, Ben McCarron.
Prediction: Offaly. This will be a dogfight and despite the lack of fans, Offaly have the home advantage. They had a rude awakening against Tipperary that they will be keen to put right. Whereas Derry already have one eye on the Championship.
Offaly vs Derry: Division 3, Sunday October 25th, 2pm (O’Connor Park).
— The GAA (@officialgaa) October 20, 2020
Louth’s relegation to Division 4 was confirmed after round 6. At the other end of the table, Down got two points against Leitrim without even lining-out. The cancellation of that game left them second in the table and favourites to join Cork in Division 2. Louth vs Down is on Sunday at 2pm.
Louth started well against Cork. However, the rebels are a class above everyone in the division and once they found their stride Louth had no reply.
Yet, 0-16 is a promising tally to take them forward. They begin their Championship against Longford on November 1st. As a result, with nothing to gain from the Down game Wayne Kierans may experiment this weekend.
Whereas Paddy Tally has not seen his team in competitive action at all yet. He would have no doubt preferred to play against Leitrim.
Patrick Reilly and Emmet Coralan saw the line for Louth in the closing stages last weekend. Kierans will be expecting a more disciplined outing from his side this time out.
Meanwhile, Down have just the one game to get their team right before Championship
We have live score commentary from Mayo v Tyrone, this game will decide relegation, we have live score commentary and starting team news.
Mayo vs Tyrone has the makings of a relegation shoot-out in Castlebar next Sunday. Despite Mayo’s comprehensive victory over Galway, they still need a win in their final game to guarantee safety. Meanwhile, Tyrone are just one point above the drop zone after their defeat to Donegal. If they lose and Monaghan win next weekend, they will drop to Division 2.
Mayo didn’t show any sign of rustiness in their return to action last Sunday. On the contrary, they produced arguably their best performance during James Horan’s second coming. From the off, they blew Galway out of the water. In the first-half, they accumulated a remarkable 2-17. Then, a further 1-6 after the break solidified their dominance.
However, with Galway missing many of their star names, it was easy for the Mayo players to find gaps in the defence. Next weekend, it will be much more attritional against Mickey Harte’s side. As a result, it will be impressive if Mayo can replicate such a scoreline.
The silver-lining for Mickey Harte in his loss to Donegal is the return of Conor McKenna. After six years in the AFL, the 24-year-old started for Tyrone. He scored 1-2 from play and added further assists.
Harte will be keen to stem the gaps Donegal were able to find in the Tyrone defence last weekend. If Mayo’s running game is on point, they can punish Tyrone just as easily. In a must-win game, Tyrone can’t afford to fall far behind.
Tyrone will be sweating over the availabilty of Rory Brennan. The referee brandished a red card after the corner-back fouled Murphy a minute from time and appeared to lay a hand on Jerome Henry.
On the other hand, Kieran McGeary’s dismissal won’t have any ramifications. He got his marching orders three minutes before Brennan after a black card on top of a yellow.
Cathal McShane won’t be available this season. But, Peter Harte could return and link up with Conor McKenna.
For Mayo, Mark Moran was the standout performer. The young Westport centre-forward made his debut for Mayo and fitted in seamlessly. A personal tally of 1-2 rounded off a dream debut. Likewise, Paddy Durcan, Oisin Mullin, and Aidan O’Shea all found themselves in the team of the week.
James Horan has very few complaints after the weekend. Therefore, we can’t expect many changes to the side that will take the field next Sunday.
Tyrone (Mayo): Niall Morgan; Liam Rafferty, Ronan McNamee, Darragh Canavan; Tiernan McCann, Kieran McGeary, Michael McKernan; Brian Kennedy, Frank Burns; Matthew Donnelly, Conor McKenna, Darren McCurry; Peter Harte, Conall McCann, Conor Meyler.
Mayo (Tyrone): David Clarke; Oisin Mullin, Stephen Coen, Lee Keegan; Patrick Durcan, Kevin McLoughlin, Eoghan McLaughlin; Matthew Ruane, Conor Loftus; Diarmuid O’Connor, Mark Moran, Bryan Walsh; Tommy Conroy, Aidan O’Shea, Cillian O’Connor.
Prediction: Mayo. They found a way to survive against Donegal in 2018 and will find a way to do so again, especially in McHale Park.
Mayo vs Tyrone: Division 1, Sunday October 25th, 2pm (Castlebar).
— The GAA (@officialgaa) October 18, 2020
Mayo play Tyrone at Machale Park at 2pm
Monaghan plays Meath @ 2pm Sunday 25th.
Monaghan vs Meath is a chance for both of these teams to bounce back from defeats before the start of the Championship. Monaghan lost to Kerry last weekend, while a spirited Meath team fell to Dublin.
Meath (Monaghan): Marcus Brennan; Seamus Lavin, Conor McGill, David Toner; Cathal Hickey, Shane McEntee, Donal Keogan; Bryan Menton, Ronan Jones; Jason Scully, Bryan McMahon, Ronan Ryan; Cillian O’Sullivan, Shane Walsh, Thomas O’Reilly.
Subs: Andrew Colgan, Eoin Harkin, Gavin McCoy, Matthew Costello, Brian Conlon, Ethan Devine, Joey Wallace, Jordan Morris, James Conlon, Donal Lenihan, Darragh Campion.
Galway vs Dublin Division 1 Football: Galway dropped from the top of Division 1 following their loss to Mayo at the weekend. However, a lot of Padraic Joyce’s star names were absent. On the other hand, Dessie Farrell’s stint as Dublin manager continued with another win over Meath.
In a high-scoring game, Dublin had the only goal to aid a four-point win. As a result, these sides are tied on 8 points, just one behind Kerry. Thus, a win could see either of these teams crowned champions if the Kingdom don’t beat Donegal. Galway vs Dublin is on TG4 on Sunday.
Dublin (Galway): Stephen Cluxton; Cian Murphy, David Byrne, Michael Fitzsimons; John Small, Jonny Cooper, Robert McDaid; Brian Fenton, Emmet O Conghaile; Eric Lowndes, Ciaran Kilkenny, Niall Scully; Paddy Small, Con O’Callaghan, Dean Rock.
Galway (Dublin): Bernard Power; Sean Kelly, Sean Mulkerrin, James Foley; Liam Silke, Gary O’Donnell, Johnny Heaney; Cein Darcy, Tom Flynn; Paul Kelly, Paul Conroy, Jason Leonard; Robert Finnerty, Adrian Varley, Ian Burke.
Time and Venue to be confirmed
Kildare vs Westmeath – Preview, team news, and live score commentary for the crunch match to decide who gets promoted from Division two football.
The winner of Kildare vs Westmeath could well find themselves in Division1 next season if Armagh fail to win against Clare. Both these teams had impressive outings last weekend after the long break. If that is any suggestion of what is to come in round, this game will be a high-scoring thriller.
Firstly, Kildare racked up 1-21 against Cavan. 2018 U20 Player of the Year Jimmy Hyland had 0-9 of his own. Fergal Conway’s 52nd minute goal was the only major of the game. It came in the third quarter that saw Kildare outscore Cavan 1-5 vs 0-2. However, Kildare took their foot off the gas then. Cavan were unlucky to not find the net in injury time when there was just three points in it. Jack O’Connor will be looking for a strong 70 minutes from his side in round 7.
Secondly, Westmeath outshone Laois in Mullingar. Johnny Heslin was the standout performer with 8 points. Leading 0-12 vs 0-5 at the midway point, Westmeath demonstrated great game management. They kept the scoreboard ticking over as the game went on. As a result, Jamie Gonoud’s goal in the 63rd minute effectively killed the game.
If Sunday’s game is as close as to be expected, Kildare cannot afford to pull up early again. If they do, Westmeath have shown they can punish them by finishing strongly.
Darragh Kirwan made a very impressive debut that saw him kick 0-4 from full-forward. In the absence of Niall Kelly, Daniel Flynn, and Jack Robinson, Jack O’Connor’s new-look forward line more than sufficed.
Kirwan, Hyland, and Ben McCormack hit 0-15 of Kildare’s 1-21. Therefore, you can expect O’Connor to capitalise on this momentum and use the same formula against Westmeath.
Elsewhere, O’Connor has a full squad to choose from.
Westmeath face Dublin in the Leinster Championship. Thus, Jack Cooney could decide to throw all his cards on the table for round 7 of the league and go for promotion. Dublin may be a team in transition. But, in a knock-out Championship they could have a short season unless they play the game of their lives.
With that in mind, it would be understandable to see Cooney use his strongest selection at every opportunity.
<strong>Prediction: </strong>Draw. Remarkably, no game finished all-square last weekend. But, with the cobwebs now dusted off, teams have expectations going into games. Kildare are impressive up top. Yet, Westmeath are going to go all-out for this one. So, a stalemate in Newbridge is highly possible.
<h3><strong>Kildare vs Westmeath: Division 1, Saturday, October 24th, 2pm (Newbridge). </strong></h3>
— The GAA (@officialgaa) October 20, 2020
Wexford vs Wicklow Allianz Football League Division 4, we have preview, team news and live score commentary, game throws in at 2pm
There are only three games going ahead in the Division 4 National League this weekend due to London’s continued unavailability. All games have an important say in who will be promoted though. Firstly, the winner of Wexford vs Wicklow will secure themselves a Division 3 place. Next, Limerick will join them if they overcome Sligo. However, if the Connacht side win, they have an outside chance of squeezing into the top two. Likewise, Antrim are in the hunt for promotion but need to beat Waterford.
Last weekend, Wicklow were emphatic against Antrim. Their seven-goals was enough to win a game in itself. As a result, they are tied top of Division 4 and need one of the favourites for promotion.
But, Wexford returned to action with a win of their own. Despite going to Limerick with a depleted squad, they ran out three-point winners. That was a much-needed confidence boost for a team that has been shrouded with uncertainty. Paul Galvin stepped away as manager just a month before the restart. Then, four positive Covid-19 tests ruled out a host of players for Galvin’s replacement Shane Roche. With this in mind, Wexford’s win last weekend is even more impressive. If they can carry that momentum into round 7, they will see themselves in Division 3 next season.
Limerick could have sealed promotion with a result over Wexford. Instead, they need to defeat Sligo to go up to Division 3. They hit just three first-half points against Wexford. In fact, it took a triple substitution at the midpoint to give the Munster men a boost. Billy Lee will be keen to ensure his team start quicker this time around.
Sligo will relish the battle with Limerick. In their own restart, they lost to Carlow at the death. As a result, their promotion hopes have thinned. Yet, a win over Limerick would give make it possible. Paul Taylor’s side face Galway in the Championship two weeks later. A promotion would provide his team with much-welcome encouragement heading into this one. They have nothing to gain from a draw. So, expect them to play off the cuff.
On Thursday morning, Waterford issued a lengthy statement announcing their concession of the round 7 game against Antrim. The statement cited players’ concerns over needing to isolate after travelling north of the border as the reason. However, Antrim have since offered to sacrifice their home game in order to fulfil the fixture.
As a result, the game will now take place in Dundalk. Antrim could have taken the two points from Waterford without even playing. But, they instead stated their desire to win the game in a deserving manner: “We believe that the integrity of the league needs to be upheld. If we are good enough to collect two points we will do it in a fair and manly manner on the field of play.”
This game is effectively a dead-rubber for Waterford. Still, it is an opportunity to get some match practice ahead of the Championship. They play Limerick the following week in the Munster quarter-final.
A victory for Antrim will put them in the promotion mix. It’s a big ask though as other results also need to go their way. Last week, their thrashing at the hands of Wicklow left much to be desired.
Division 4 National League: (All games throw-in at 2pm on Saturday, October 24th)
Wexford vs Wicklow (Chadwick’s Wexford Park).
Sligo vs Limerick (Markievicz Park).
Antrim vs Waterford (Dundalk).
Allianz FL Division 3 round 7
Longford v Cork – game off, points to Cork