Sunday 3rd March GAA – We have Previews, Teams News & Live score updates from the National football league with Mayo v Kerry looking like the match of the day.
Football Division 1
Kildare 1-21 Tyrone 3-16 FT
Mayo 2-15 Kerry 1-13 FT
Derry 3-12 Westmeath 0-10 (2.30 throw-in)
Football Division 2
Donegal 2-11 Monaghan 0-10 FT
Football Division 3
Roscommon 1-21 Limerick 0-13 FT
Wexford 0-06 Cavan 0-13 FT
Longford 1-15 Fermanagh 2-11 FT
Sligo 0-18 Offaly 1-12 FT
Football Division 4
Clare 2-13 Wicklow 1-08 FT
London 1-07 Tipperary 1-19 FT
Antrim 1-17 Waterford 0-06 FT
Leitrim 1-17 Carlow 1-08 FT
Mayo v Kerry – Preview
Kerry find themselves in an uncomfortable and largely unfamiliar position, without a single point after the first two games played, and an away trip to last season’s All-Ireland runners-up is the next item on the agenda.
It should be said that Kerry did find themselves in the same position this time last year, pointless after the opening two matches, but with the intense competitiveness of the division it is looking likely that a win in Mayo is a must, and they will have to do it all without the services of Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper, who is out for the year with a knee injury.
Little secret has been made of the fact this is a Kerry team in transition, the loss of Cooper merely compounding the many retirements of a golden generation of footballers in the Kingdom. Much of the attention will be on their next generation, and should they pick up another loss on the road, simply retaining their top flight status will be the primary goal for Éamonn Fitzmaurice and his men.
All-Ireland finalists Mayo have made a similarly frustrating start to the new season, a one-point loss away to Kildare all they had to show for some dangerous attacking football, and another away game to Tyrone yielding a 2-15 to 0-15 loss, Mayo’s game defined by a number of missed opportunities. It will be hard for manager James Horan to be too disappointed after the failure to pick up points in two difficult away games, but the visit of Kerry presents both a challenge and opportunity. Returning to the side is Brendan Harrison, Alan Freeman and Michael Conroy, who will be looking to freshen things up after the opening two defeats.
Looking at the season ahead, Mayo’s next game will be a winnable away trip to Westmeath, and should they pick up a win on Sunday they will be looking into the rest of the season with two home games still to come, and a semi-final place will become their target. A loss however leaves them 0-3 with a trip to Dublin still to come, and Westmeath will suddenly become a season-defining game.
Neither team is in crisis mode yet, but the loser of this game will be looking down the barrel, without a point after three games, and virtually overnight the pressure will heighten significantly.
Verdict: Home advantage and the loss of Cooper to count in Mayo’s favour
It is a repeat of the Division 2 final from last season as Derry host Westmeath on Sunday. Derry look like a team on the rise and Westmeath will find the going tough in Celtic Park after a poor start to the season that sees them propping up the Division 1 table with no wins to date.
Derry’s opening draw at home to Tyrone was followed by a massive 2-point away win in Kerry. Brian McIver has made 4 changes to his team ahead of Sunday’s clash, with the attacking talent of Cailean O’Boyle returning to the side, while Ciaran McGoldrick picked up a foot injury in training and will be unavailable.
Westmeath meanwhile will be looking to recover from a heavy defeat to Cork on the first weekend that was followed by a similarly disappointing defeat at home to Dublin. Judging by their results so far, looks as if Division 1 will prove a struggle, and all their energy will be focused on maintaining their top division status. Although their team is yet to be confirmed they are likely to be at very close to full-strength, giving them the best chance of an upset and kick starting their 2014 season.
Verdict: Westmeath will struggle to contain Derry and it could well be a repeat of the divisional final contested between the two last year when the Ulstermen came out on top.
Kildare v Tyrone – Preview
Tyrone boss Mickey Harte believes this will be a defining game in Division 1 of the Allianz Football League for his side and, given the fast changing nature of the league, he could well be right.
Of the two sides, Tyrone have had marginally the better start, registering a hard-fought draw away to Derry on the opening weekend and a strong 6-point victory over Mayo at Omagh. Morale will have been boosted following their victory over Cavan in the Power NI Dr McKenna Cup final despite 11 changes from the team that played in their last League game against Mayo.
Kildare’s one point victory over Mayo will have given Lilywhite supporters great cause for optimism ahead of the new season, and it was followed by a spirited but frustrating one-point victory away to Cork. There are a number of injury concerns however for coach Jason Ryan, who will be without defenders Emmet Bolton and Ollie Lyons, as well as corner forward John Doyle.
Despite Kildare’s injury troubles, travelling to Newbridge then will be no easy task for Tyrone, who, as Mickey Harte alluded to, will be desperately looking to stay on the right side of the division. A win here will keep Tyrone in the top half of the table with two more home games still to come, but a loss would move Kildare and potentially others above them in the table, a precarious position with trips to Cork and Kerry still to come.
Verdict: Kildare will have the benefit of home advantage but Tyrone are on a roll and should just about manage to come out on top.
Donegal v Monaghan – Preview
It is a repeat of last year’s Ulster football final as Monaghan travel to Letterkenny to face a Donegal side looking to bounce straight back to the top division after their relegation from Division 1 last year.
Michael Murphy captains the Donegal side where the only changes are on the substitutes bench as Darach O’Connor comes in and Eamonn McGee returns from suspension. Monaghan too have stuck with an unchanged side from that which registered a huge victory over Meath in the second row.
It’s been a good start for Jim McGuinness and his men as they top the table after two opening victories, both away from home. They will inevitably be favourites to gain promotion should they get the better of Monaghan with two further home games to come.
Reigning Ulster champions Monaghan have also enjoyed a solid start. An opening weekend draw away to Down was followed by a 12-point demolition of Meath at Clones, a result that will surely send them to the home of the 2012 All-Ireland champions in high spirits.
Verdict: Monaghan will have momentum following their big win over Meath but Donegal should have enough to overpower their provincial neighbours.