SATURDAY 25 JUNE

Derry v Clare, Croke Park, 3.45pm
Dublin v Cork, Croke Park, 6pm

SUNDAY 26 JUNE

Galway v Armagh, Croke Park, 1.45pm
Kerry v Mayo, Croke Park, 4pm

ONLINE
Live blog on RTÉ Sport Online and RTÉ News Now app.

TV
Derry v Clare & Dublin v Cork live on Sky Sports Arena from 3.15pm; Galway v Armagh & Kerry v Mayo on The Sunday Game live from 1.15pm on RTÉ 2. Highlights on The Sunday Game, RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player from 9.30pm. Above games available to watch outside of Ireland on GAAGO.

RADIO
Live commentary and updates on RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport and Sunday Sport, with coverage on Sunday starting at 1.30pm on Radio 1 Extra. Raidió na Gaeltachta and BBC Radio Ulster will also be live from Croke Park.

WEATHER
Saturday will be an unseasonably cold, windy and wet day. There will be a good deal of cloud with showery outbreaks of rain continuing to affect the western half of the country. Some of the showers may turn thundery. Mostly dry further east, although the rain will spread across the country later in the day. Highest temperatures of 11 to 17 degrees, coolest in the west, in fresh to strong and gusty southerly or variable winds.

Sunday will see a mix of sunny spells and widespread heavy and possibly thundery showers. Highest temperatures of 13 to 16 degrees in moderate to fresh southwesterly or variable winds. For more go to met.ie.

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The way it used to be

14 September 2019. That was the day that Croke Park last had a full house, a day when Dublin completed their five-in-a-row. Who'd have thought that over 33 months would have passed before we'd see anything near full capacity at the Jones' Road venue again. Over 140,000 are expected for these quarter-finals, so it's not a complete sell-out, but it's just great to have the famous venue alive again.

To be honest, the more appetising dish is on the Sunday. Galway v Armagh, in the view of most pundits, is too close to call. Kerry are favoured to get over Mayo, even though the latter could bring a box of frogs to Croker. All bets are off then.

Saturday's starter sees Clare, fresh from their late raid on the Rossies, take on new Ulster champions Derry. "Ruthless and relentless" were words used by Fermanagh captain Declan McCusker to describe Derry boss Rory Gallagher. Such drive is clear to see on the sideline, marking Gallagher out as the GAA's answer to Antonio Conte.

The provincial winners here have had four weeks to wait before entering the All-Ireland series. That can be a hindrance, though it's unlikely we'll have a repeat of 2010, where none of the hitherto unbeaten quartet made the semis.

Banner still flying

Colm Collins

For the first time since 2016, Clare have made the last eight. As was the case back then, Colm Collins is still guiding the ship. A power ranking of managers over the last decade would have Collins in a lofty position, primarily on the back of Clare's continued presence in Division 2.

After the difficult Covid years - two championship games, two defeats - Collins' side have seized their opportunity. And that's not surprising when you consider what the manager said to reporters after the league draw with Roscommon in February: "We're very happy with the bunch of players we have. We think we’re a match for anybody."

They certainly were a match for Roscommon the last day. They set the tempo early on, before the Connacht men gained a measure of control that looked like giving them victory. Five points up with six minutes to go. Game over, we thought. Not to be. Two pressure deadball scores from Keelan Sexton, one from the penalty spot and a stunning 74th-minute winner from Jamie Malone, saw Clare snatch it at the death.

Collins couldn't hide his delight when he spoke to RTÉ afterwards: "I'm really proud of the lads; they are a fantastic bunch of players and they've proved that so often.

"When people think they're beaten they'll dig out out a win; I'm absolutely delighted for them.

"We had a decent first half and then took our foot off the accelerator a bit, we eased off and weren't attacking them, but when the gauntlet was thrown down to them they responded."

Keelan Sexton, who missed a penalty in the shootout defeat against Limerick and was also unsuccessful from the spot against Meath, held his nerve brilliantly to dispatch that vital kick against the Rossies. He contributed 2-06 in a man of the match display and along with Jamie Malone, Cathal O'Connor, Podge Collins and Manus Doherty will be key again for Clare as they look to cause another upset.

Derry keen to take an even bigger step

Chrissy McKaigue with the Anglo Celt Cup

After ending a 24-year for an Ulster title, Derry are hungry for more success. Provincial glory, a means to end, it would seem. It wasn't so long ago that the Oakleafers were operating as a Division 4 side. The only way was up.

In Rory Gallagher, they got the right man to help them rise from the abyss. A first sign that Gallagher's work was paying off was in last year's Ulster quarter-final and that narrow loss to Donegal. No chance to enter the back-door only heightened the frustration. Promotion to Division 1 in the spring looked very much on track until Galway came and handed out a bit of a spanking in Owenbeg.

That said, the feel-good factor remained; Derry were still considered a good bet for Ulster. In taking down Tyrone, Monaghan and Donegal, there was no denying that their success was fully merited, even though purists will scoff at a decider bereft of open, expansive football, and one dominated by the defensive strategies.

Still, there is a lot to admire about Derry. Shane McGuigan's accuracy saw him chalk up 2-50 in the Ulster championship; Chrissy McKaigue's tenacious man-marking; the cleverness of Ethan Doherty as a half-forward and Conor Glass's versatility all over the pitch.

Gallagher showing his delight during the Ulster final

And then there's Gallagher, the man who will lead Derry until 2025.

Donegal ladies manager Maxi Curran, who worked alongside Gallagher in Jim McGuinness' Donegal backroom team, recently told RTÉ: "I think it's just his football intellect is off the charts, you know.

"The man is just a complete obsessive about football, and there's not a player in the country that he couldn’t tell you 10 things about.

"He has that level of interest and always had that level of interest, his attention to detail, he scrutinises the opposition really well."

Gallagher will have work done on Clare. The sides last met in the league back in February. Derry ran out nine-point winners in Ennis.

Rory Gallagher has made one switch from the Derry team that beat Donegal on 29 May.

Emmett Bradley comes into the XV and Niall Toner is among the substitutes.

Clare have also made one change with Cillian Brennan returning from injury, Alan Sweeney drops out.

Derry: Odhrán Lynch; Chrissy McKaigue, Brendan Roger, Conor McCluskey; Conor Doherty, Gareth McKinless, Padraig McGrogan; Conor Glass, Emmett Bradley; Paul Cassidy, Shea Downey, Ethan Doherty; Benny Heron, Shane McGuigan, Niall Loughlin.

Clare: Tristan O'Callaghan; Manus Doherty, Cillian Brennan Cillian Rouine; Cian O'Dea, Ciarán Russell, Jamie Malone; Darren O'Neill, Cathal O'Connor; Pearse Lillis, Eoin Cleary, Emmet McMahon; Pádraic Collins, Keelan Sexton, Aaron Griffin

Dublin's pep is back, Cork beware

The Dubs had an easy run through Leinster again

If you believe all the pre-match talk, then Dublin should record a relatively straightforward win over the Rebels. Let's be honest about it, the Dubs have had one eye on the All-Ireland semi, and a potential date now with Kerry or Mayo.

Leinster success for Dessie Farrell's side was easier than expected, with Kildare put to the sword early on in the final. Five goals between the fifth and 27th minutes ending the contest by half-time and securing a remarkable Leinster 12-in-a-row.

Two goals from Cormac Costello and further majors from Ciaran Kilkenny, Man of the Match Con O'Callaghan and defender John Small did for the Lilywhites.

On paper, Glenn Ryan's side would have more about them than Cork, but every day is different, with the latter having games against Louth and Limerick to prepare them for this stern examination. In the latter contest, the Rebels eventually came good to win by five points, though the lack of aggression they showed in the first half would leave you worried ahead of this Croker date.

Cork's Cathail O'Mahony holding guarding the ball against Limerick

Interim boss John O'Leary spoke after the Limerick about the "next level" when coming up against side like Dublin. They will look to contain, just like they did for a good part of the game against Kerry.

Colm O'Callaghan and Ian Maguire will aim to limit the effectiveness of Brian Fenton and Tom Lahiff in the middle, while tabs will also have to be kept on the in-form duo of Con O'Callaghan and Cormac Costello.

Cork have gone for the same team that started against Limerick, with joint captain Seán Meehan named on the bench.

After their saunter through Leinster, it could be a case of reading too much into Dublin's form. However, the manner in which they laboured to a Delaney Cup win in 2021 and the subsequent loss to Mayo, would indicate that Farrell's men are much more focused this year. The form of Lee Gannon in defence, Tom Lahiff in midfield and Lorcan O'Dell on the '40 shows that new lads are stepping up, in spite of the view that Dublin's depth is not as strong as it was.

A test of that depth will surely come in a fortnight.

Dublin pair James McCarthy and Con O'Callaghan have not been named in Dessie Farrell's starting side.

Although a full panel list has not been revealed, RTÉ Sport understands that neither will be in the matchday 26, amid reports of hamstring injuries.

Seven-time All-Ireland winner Jonny Cooper, Paddy Small and Niall Scully come in, in three changes from the team that thrashed Kildare in the Leinster final, with the aforementioned pair and Lorcan O'Dell dropping out.

Dublin: Evan Comerford; Eoin Murchan, Michael Fitzsimons, Lee Gannon; John Small, Jonny Cooper, Seán Bugler; Brian Fenton, Tom Lahiff; Niall Scully, Brian Howard, Ciarán Kilkenny; Cormac Costello, Dean Rock, Paddy Small.

Cork: Micheál Aodh Martin; Sean Powter, Maurice Shanley, Kevin O'Donovan; John Cooper, Rory Maguire, Mattie Taylor; Ian Maguire, Colm O'Callaghan; Daniel Dineen, Eoghan McSweeney, John O'Rourke; Steven Sherlock, Brian Hurley, Cathail O'Mahony.

Orchard ripening, Galway expectation

Rian O'Neill finds the net against Donegal in Clones

On paper, Galway v Armagh is the tie of the weekend. A battle of wits involving Pádraic Joyce and Kieran McGeeney. Since Galway's Connacht final triumph, Armagh have recorded two notable victories over Tyrone and Donegal, so giving them added momentum.

McGeeney has been at the helm of the Orchard men since 2014. And while it has often been the case of one step forward and two steps back since then, this year has seen a more marked improvement. For much of the league, Armagh cut quite a dash. They were particularly impressive in their opener against Dublin. Division 1 status was comfortably retained. The defeat to Donegal in Ulster saw the alarm bells ring again. Would it be a short summer?


Traffic jams and temperature jumps - Galway's 3-0 lead over Armagh


The response was emphatic. Stefan Campbell rolled back the years as the All-Ireland champions were sent tumbling. And goalkeeper Ethan Rafferty, a former attacker who has given many years of service to the Orchard cause, was another key figure, advancing repeatedly into opposition territory and kicking two brilliant points from play.

A week later, Rian O'Neill starred with a 1-07 haul against Donegal to secure Armagh's place in the quarters for the first time since 2017. Revenge may have been sweet, but such thoughts are well and truly parked now. You don't have to shout it too loudly, but not many would be surprised if Armagh reach the All-Ireland final. Their attack is as good as any in the country; they will feel they can outscore the opposition even if it's a scorefest.

The intensity, which was lacking in their championship opener, is now there for all to see. Speaking after the win over Donegal a fortnight ago, Rian O'Neill told RTÉ Sport: "A few weeks ago, we looked at ourselves and saw that our intensity wasn't there. Today I think everybody could see the intensity was there from the word go.

"We're a different team when we play like that and if you bring the intensity, you'll not be too far away."

O'Neill, who played much deeper in Clones, will again look to pull the strings across the wide expanses of Croke Park. That setting should suit this Armagh team, given the verve McGeeney's side are now displaying.

Sean Kelly holds the Nestor Cup aloft

Galway's Connacht success was fully deserved after wins over Mayo, Leitrim and Roscommon. They scored 2-16 (of their 2-18) from play with eight players hitting the target against the Rossies. Shane Walsh, with 1-06 of that total, leads a very potent Tribes attack that includes Damien Comer, Johnny Heaney, Rob Finnerty and Patrick Kelly. Like Armagh they will welcome the open spaces at GAA HQ.

At the back, perhaps Galway are bit tighter, and that could be pivotal in deciding what will be a tight affair.

The Tribes are unchanged from the Connacht final. One change for Armagh, with Jemar Hall coming in at half-forward as Andrew Murnin missing out

Galway: Connor Gleeson; Liam Silke, Seán Kelly, Jack Glynn; Dylan McHugh, John Daly, Kieran Molloy; Paul Conroy, Cillian McDaid; Patrick Kelly, Matthew Tierney, Johnny Heaney; Rob Finnerty, Damien Comer, Shane Walsh.

Armagh: Ethan Rafferty; James Morgan, Aidan Forker, Conor O'Neill; Aaron McKay, Greg McCabe, Jarly Og Burns; Stephen Sheridan, Ben Crealey; Rory Grugan, Stefan Campbell, Jemar Hall; Aidan Nugent, Rian O'Neill, Jason Duffy

Another collision in this modern-day rivalry

David Clifford finds the Mayo net in the league final

The last of the quarter-finals sees Kerry and Mayo clash in the championship for the first time since 2019. On that occasion, the Kingdom ran out 10-point winners in a Super 8s clash.

To bring things forward, this will be third meeting between the sides this year, with the Kingdom holding the upper hand after a narrow league win in Tralee and then a more convincing success in the Division 1 final. Fifteen points was the margin of victory in the latter; a day when Mayo were cast aside with ease.

Can we read too much into Kerry's 23rd league success, though? Were Mayo all that bothered? In truth, James Horan's side probably didn't want to be there. Since then the Green and Red relinquished their Connacht title, this before they got back on the horse with qualifier wins over Monaghan and Kildare.

Mayo eventually came good against Kildare

They were far from impressive in both games; in fact they were quite abject in the opening half against the Lilies. Late goals from Oisín Mullin and Jordan Flynn eventually saw Mayo over the line in a game where they trailed by six points on 45 minutes. Not for the first time, the westerners survived a back-door scare.

Kerry, for their part, came through Munster with the minimum of fuss. David Clifford was out with a calf injury in the final win over Limerick, but he is set to start on Sunday. Like Dublin, the Kingdom have enjoyed an easy run of things up to know. Speaking to RTÉ Sport ahead of the game, former Kingdom star Dara Ó Cinnéide, while accepting that a clash with Mayo is still a good draw, is still rather "wary" of facing a side who have the potential to up their game.

"The focus down here is to totally discount this year's league final because Mayo were missing at least a third of their team.

"Kerry learned from last year that beating Tyrone by as much as they did didn't count for a whole lot when it came to the championship and the feeling is very much the same now. We beat Mayo very handily in the league final, there is no sense that a repeat is in the offing.

"Mayo are just hard to predict, they are the type of team that play to the level of the opposition. Since they have re-emerged as a force over the last decade, they have managed to take out a big player in most of those years. There is a wariness down in Kerry about that, a natural wariness, following on from a soft Munster championship."

That said, Ó Cinnéide believes Kerry are the better team and if they are the genuine contenders that most view them to be, then they will go out and do the business against their Connacht rivals.

Not surprisingly, there are no shortage of questions as to the match-ups. Will Mayo deploy extra cover to keep tabs on David Clifford? Gavin White, who did so much damage in the league final from wing-back, will also need minding.

Where will Aidan O'Shea be positioned? Will it be as named in midfield, at 11, or back at six for added cover?

On this week's RTÉ GAA Podcast, Ciarán Whelan feels that the presence of the Breaffy man high up the field could cause an unsettling disruption and force Kerry to rethink their tactics.

Will Ryan O'Donoghue see action for Mayo? Well, he's not named in the starting XV, with the only change from the last day seeing Jordan Flynn return to the team at wing-forward in place of Jason Doherty.

David Clifford will start for the Kingdom.

Mayo: Rob Hennelly; Lee Keegan, Oisin Mullin, Enda Hession; Paddy Durcan, Stephen Coen, Eoghan McLaughlin; Aidan O'Shea, Matthew Ruane; Jordan Flynn, Diarmuid O'Connor, Conor Loftus; James Carr, Jack Carney, Cillian O'Connor.

Kerry: Shane Ryan; Graham O'Sullivan, Jason Foley, Tom O'Sullivan; Brian Ó Beaglaíoch, Tadhg Morley, Gavin White; David Moran, Diarmuid O'Connor; Dara Moynihan, Seán O'Shea, Stephen O'Brien; Paudie Clifford, David Clifford, Paul Geaney.