FIXTURES

SATURDAY 22 MAY

Allinaz FL Division 1 North
Donegal v Monaghan,MacCumhaill Park, 5pm
Armagh v Tyrone, Athletic Grounds, 7pm

Allianz FL Division 2 North
Westmeath v Mayo, TEG Cusack Park, 3pm

Allianz FL Division 2 South
Laois v Cork, MW Hire O'Moore Park, 7pm

Allianz FL Division 3 North
Derry v Fermanagh, Owenbeg, 5pm
Cavan v Longford, Kingspan Breffni Park, 7pm

Allianz FL Division 3 South
Offaly v Limerick, Bord na Móna O'Connor Park, 3pm
Tipperary v Wicklow, Semple Stadium, 4.30pm

Allianz FL Division 4 South
Wexford v Waterford, Chadwicks Wexford Park, 3pm

SUNDAY 23 MAY

Allianz FL Division 1 South
Dublin v Kerry, Semple Stadium 1.45pm
Galway v Roscommon, Pearse Stadium, 2pm

Allianz FL Division 2 North
Down v Meath, Athletic Grounds, 3.45pm

Allianz FL Division 2 South
Kildare v Clare, St Conleth's Park, 2pm

Allianz FL Division 4 North
Leitrim v Louth, Avantcard Pairc Seán MacDiarmada, 3pm
Antrim v Sligo, Corrigan Park, 4pm

ONLINE
Live blogs each day on RTÉ Sport Online and the RTÉ News app.

RADIO
Live commentaries on RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday and Sunday Sport.

TV
On Saturday RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player cameras will be in Ballybofey for Donegal v Monaghan from 4.30pm. Match also available to watch on eir Sport, who before that will have live coverage of Westmeath v Mayo in Mullingar from 3pm. Sunday's clash of Dublin v Kerry at Semple Stadium can be viewed on TG4, with coverage starting at 1.15pm. All other games are available to watch on GAAGO.

Highlights on Allianz League Sunday, RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player, 9.30pm.

WEATHER

Saturday: Sunny spells and scattered showers, mainly affecting the western half of the country. Another relatively cool day with highs of just 10 to 13 degrees Celsius, in mostly moderate westerly breezes.

Sunday: A band of rain will sweep in across the country during the morning, clearing into the Irish Sea into the afternoon. Whilst it will brighten up, it will be scattered heavy showers will follow bringing the risk of spot flooding, lightning and hail. Staying cool with highs of only 10 to 12 degrees Celsius. Breezy at first in fresh southerly winds, veering westerly and moderating. For more go to met.ie.


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The show is back. Some things remain the same, but more questions for others

After an opening weekend where teams threw off the cobwebs, did we learn a whole pile? Not a whole lot! The Dublin machine keeps ticking along and Kerry, as evidenced by David Clifford's 3-06 against Galway, look the best equipped to finally end the Dubs' long, unbeaten run in the championship.

Early pressure on the Galway manager

Pádraic Joyce will be disappointed with the effort of his side in Tralee. Defensively, his side cracked. In going man-to-man, they were cut open. Galway's record since the resumption of the league after lockdown 1 last October offers a grim stat. An 11-point losing margin across four games is in marked contrast to the defensive solidity that underlined Kevin Walsh's reign.

Over the border Mayo caught the eye, with Tommy Conroy showing the way against Down in tier two. The westerners are focused on a quick escape.

Cavan and Tipperary, the provincial headline makers from last November, suffered early reverses in Division 3. Mickey Harte's tenure in Louth got off to a losing start as his former pupil Enda McGinley had the last laugh, with Antrim shading a tight Division 4 contest.

The opening weekend also saw more debate around the advanced mark and the advantage rule.

Another trip to Tipp

It's 20 years since Dublin and Kerry played out those two championship games at Semple Stadium. Maurice Fitzgerald's audacious levelling point, preceded by a few 'encouraging' words in his ear from Tommy Carr, remains a standout moment for the ages. A week later and the Kingdom got the job done to settle that All-Ireland quarter-final.

Dublin's penalty for a squad training breach sees them forfeiting home games in this league, and so they must face their old foes in Tom Semple's field.

Between them they have 101 All-Ireland and Allianz League titles and are the current holders of both crowns. Sunday's clash will be the 83rd meeting between the counties (31 championship, 52 league).

Kerry, in recent times have found Dublin an itch they cannot scratch. It's not quite a must-win game for the Kingdom, but they will be keen to make life uncomfortable for their opponents, to disrupt their possession game, to limit the impact of Cormac Costello and Ciarán Kilkenny.

The marauding Dubs are not easy to stop, but Kerry did show in the 2019 All-Ireland draw and replay that they did possess a template that nearly worked.


FULL FIXTURES & TABLES


Galway require a bounce

Elsewhere in Division 1 South, Galway host Roscommon, a dress-rehearsal of sorts for their Connacht semi-final at the Hyde. The Rossies were more than up for their clash last Sunday against Dublin, conceding three penalties didn't help their cause, but they competed well at midfield and largely marshalled the threat of the Dublin attack, with the notable exception of Cormac Costello.

The Tribesmen were beaten out the gate by Kerry in Tralee. Big improvement needed, with Pádraic Joyce now tasked with getting the blend right in terms of attack and defence. That point was not lost on former Galway boss John O'Mahony, when he spoke to the Irish Examiner.

"I think the natural type of football that Galway have been really good at over the years is where they play an attacking type of football, but you cannot do that at the expense of not having a defensive strategy," he said.

"Kevin Walsh (previous manager) was being accused of the opposite, which was too much of a defensive strategy which actually stunted, if you like, the natural attacking ability. The answer is somewhere in between and that is the challenge for Pádraic Joyce and his management that they need to get to.

"Obviously Pádraic got the team to play some wonderful football at the start of the league last year and, as I said, what you want to do is play an attacking type of football, but you cannot do that at the expense of minding the defence and play as a group rather than as individuals."

Ulster delights

Speaking on this week's RTÉ GAA Podcast, Pat Spillane was more than impressed with the quality on offer between Tyrone and Donegal last Saturday. "There wasn't a sweeper to be found", said Pat, who went on to say that elements of 'puke football' were more evident in the Cork-Tipp hurling game that followed.

Donegal and Armagh got off to the best possible start in this all-Ulster group, beating Tyrone and Monaghan respectively last weekend.

Declan Bonner's now side play host to a Monaghan outfit, still minus the presence of Seamus McEneaney on the sideline.

McGeeney is now in his sixth season as Orchard boss

Tyrone face a real test against a rejuvenated Armagh team, who marked their return to Division 1 for the first time since 2012 with a four-point win over the Farney. This pair served up some spicy fare in the 2000s, and another brace of points for Kieran McGeeney's side would represent more progress as it would leave continued top-flight status in their own hands.

Early pressure on a few favoured promotion candidates

A look across the other divisions sees fixtures that could shape the ups and downs from each section .

In Division 2 South, the two first round winners Clare and Kildare clash in Newbridge, while Laois play host to Cork. Early pressure on Ronan McCarthy to avoid a relegation scrap after coming up from tier three.

In North, Mayo will fancy their chances away to Westmeath. Down's 'home' game against Meath is at the Athletic Grounds, where the Royals arrive on the back of a first league win in two years after last Sunday's win over Westmeath. A fact that manager Andy McEntee wasn't aware of when he spoke to RTÉ Sport.

Andy McEntee at last savoured a Meath victory last weekend

"You're after telling me something that I wasn't even aware of, I might as well tell you that," the Meath manager said when quizzed about the barren league run ending.

"I hadn't thought about that. Now that you say it, of course that's right, but I hadn't thought about it. I don't think anybody had mentioned it, it seems so long ago since we played in Division 1 and we all felt all along, even though we didn't get any wins, that we performed well enough, so it wasn't an issue."

Onto Division 3 South, Tipperary's historic success in the Munster championship last year left them favourites to take one of the two promotion places but they suffered a big setback in the opening round last weekend when Limerick, who were promoted from Division 4 last year, beat them by two points. It was a very encouraging performance by Billy Lee’s side, who had a two-point win at the end.

It leaves Tipperary under big pressure as they prepare for Wicklow’s visit to Semple Stadium for what will be the first league game between the counties since 2014.

Limerick take on fellow-first round winners, Offaly in a clash where the winners will be well-placed in the promotion drive.

In North, Fermangh's win over Ulster champions Cavan in Round 1 stood out. The Ernesiders now head to Owenbeg to take on Derry, who romped past Longford by 16 points in their opener. The latter now have an away date at Kingspan Breffni Park.

Carlow have already secured two points in Division 4 South after their easy win over Waterford. The Déise have to beat Wexford away to have any chance of staying in the promotion hunt.

Mickey Harte and Antrim manager Enda McGinley

In the North section, last weekend's winners - Antrim and Sligo - meet in Corrigan Park while the losers - Louth and Leitrim clash in Carrick-on-Shannon, knowing that only a win will be good enough to keep their Division 3 prospects alive.

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