/ GAA

At a glance: the Championship weekend

Updated: Sunday, 18 May 2014 10:16 | Comments

Omagh is the venue for Tyrone v Down on Sunday
Omagh is the venue for Tyrone v Down on Sunday

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SATURDAY
1900 Westmeath v Louth - Cusack Park (Football)

SUNDAY
1300 London v Laois - Ruislip (Hurling)
1500 Roscommon v Leitrim - Dr Hyde Park (Football)
1500 Carlow v Westmeath - Dr Cullen Park (Hurling)
1530 Wicklow v Laois - Aughrim (Football)
1530 Longford v Offaly - Pearse Park (Football)
1600 Tyrone v Down - Omagh (Football)

ON TV
RTÉ Two Tyrone v Down - Sunday Game Live from 1515
Available worldwide on RTE Player

ON RADIO
Radio 1: Tyrone v Down - Sunday Sport from 1400
Newstalk: Wicklow v Laois - Off the Ball from 1300

WEATHER Sunday will be dry at first along parts of the east coast, but rain will soon become widespread, with some heavy bursts. The afternoon and evening will be drier and brighter in the southwest, west and northwest, with sunny spells and just occasional showers, but cloudy, misty conditions will persist elsewhere, with occasional rain, possibly heavy in places. Cool and fresh, with maximum temperatures of just 12 to 15 Celsius, with light mainly southwesterly winds.

THE FIXTURES

Wicklow v Laois - Leinster SFC preliminary round

This fixture evokes memories of the ‘Battle of Aughrim’ in 1986 when Wicklow surprisingly beat the then league champions in what was a bad-tempered affair. Let’s hope Sunday’s game will be remembered for purely football reasons.

GAA folk in Wicklow believe that they can put it up to any side on the pitch in Aughrim and Laois will tread warily, especially on the back of a league campaign that had them teetering on the brink of relegation to the third tier.

The midlanders are looking for their first win in the province for three years and must plan without Denis Booth and Mark Timmons, who are unavailable due to suspension and injury respectively.

Tomás O Flatharta spent one year in charge in charge of Galway with little success. The pressure is now on to deliver something tangible with Laois. Heading to Aughrim will provide a tough test.

Verdict: Laois

Longford v Offaly - Leinster SFC preliminary round

Two sides that made the drop to bottom tier of the league meet at Pearse Park for the right to face Wexford in the next round.

Home advantage should benefit a Longford outfit who will be looking to the likes of Francis McGee, Sean McCormack and Brian Kavanagh to lead the way in attack.

After some progress in 2013, Offaly boss Emmett McDonnell will be disappointed with what his troop have served up so far this year. He hands a debut to Joseph Maher in the full-forward line.

Verdict: Longford

Roscommon v Leitrim - Connacht SFC quarter-final

While the Roscommon U-21 side disappointed in the recent All-Ireland final against Dublin, promotion to Division 2 in the league for the senior squad rounded off a decent spring for the county.

John Evans is now in his second year in charge of the Rossies and Sunday’s match is teed up nicely for him to oversee a first championship win with his adopted side.

As was the case in 2013, Leitrim began the year with a win in the FBD Connacht League. However, they failed to build on that momentum in Division 4 of the league and defeat away to Waterford took the wind out of their sails with regard to promotion. It’s 2000 since they last beat Roscommon in the championship.

Both counties introduce three newcomers for the Hyde Park encounter, though no players from the U-21 squad will feature for the home side.

A date with Mayo awaits the winners on 8 June.

Verdict: Roscommon

Tyrone v Down - Ulster SFC preliminary round

RTÉ cameras will be in Healy Park, Omagh for what could be a cracking opener to the Ulster campaign. Tyrone’s league campaign showed a greater emphasis on the offensive, though they will be worried about their concession rate particularly in the matches against Kerry and Dublin.

That said, there are few talking them up as possible All-Ireland contenders. Are Tyrone capable of delivering a first provincial title since 2010

It’s hard to believe that it’s 1994 since Down’s last tasted Ulster success. For them to end that run they are going to have do it the hard way, with Monaghan, then Cavan or Armagh and most likely Donegal or Derry to be seen off even if they get past Tyrone.

Verdict: Tyrone

London v Laois - Leinster SHC round-robin, series four 

Verdict: London have been competitive so far in the round-robin series, but Laois should have enough for victory. Seamus Plunkett’s can then focus on their clash with Antrim on Sunday week to decided who tops the section.

Carlow v Westmeath - Leinster SHC round-robin, series four  

It's been a disappointing campaign so far for John Meyler's Carlow but the should have enough here to sign off with a victory.

Verdict: Carlow

Westmeath v Louth - Leinster SFC preliminary round

Both counties suffered relegation in the spring, with Paul Bealin’s Westmeath failing to register a point in the league’s top flight. Clearing this hurdle would be a major boost for either side ahead of a date with Kildare on 8 June.

Ray Connellan will make his championship debut for Westmeath at midfield where he will partner David Duffy. Louth also go with one new face as Patrick Reilly gets a start on the half-forward line.

Westmeath’s front line of attack encompasses the triumvirate of Denis Glennon, John Heslin and Dessie Dolan. A decent supply of ball in should ensure a productive dividend.

Verdict: Westmeath


 

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