A total of 31 games are down for decision this weekend, with some counties close to securing their spots in the knockout stages.


History of sorts was made last Sunday when for the first time players from the island of Inisbofin lined out for Galway. Goalkeeper Ruairi Lavelle and midfielder Michael Day were on the team that defeated Sligo in Enniscrone.

After the Tribesmen secured a first Connacht title in eight years, manager Kevin Walsh has cast his net wide in the pursuit of new talent and it was another debutant Barry McHugh who really caught the eye the last day, scoring 0-07.

Galway travel to take on Leitrim in Ballinamore. The latter opened their campaign with a 5-20 to 1-10 win over GMIT, while Roscommon also kept the scoreboard operator busy as they stormed to a 6-21 to 1-14 victory against IT Sligo. The Rossies play host to NUIG in Round 2.

Sunday 15 January 
Leitrim v Galway, Ballinamore
1400 Mayo v IT Sligo, Ballina Stephenites
1400 Roscommon v NUIG, Ballyforan
1400 Sligo v GMIT, Connacht GAA Centre


Cillian O'Sullivan in action for the Royals last weekend

Round 3 awaits in the O'Byrne Cup. Kildare, Laois, Louth and Meath have won both their games.

A player to watch, we are told, for 2017 is Meath's Cillian O'Sullivan. As was reported in these pages last Sunday, Meath's answer to Zlatan Ibrahimovic made a real impression in the win over Wicklow.

The Royals then dispatched DIT in midweek - a contest where one Donal Lenihan caught the eye. I'm told he's no relation to Cork's Donal Lenihan, who excelled in the oval ball code.

Meath are away to Laois on Saturday evening in Stradbally, where a place in the semi-finals will be at stake, and Joe Sheridan will start in goals - a first appearance in a Meath jersey for 'Big Joe' since 2013.

Louth will fancy their chances staying unbeaten and progressing in the tournament as they welcome Carlow to Dowdallshill. A draw will be sufficient for the Wee County to reach the semis and a similar scenario would do for Kildare in their quest to reach the last four.

Saturday 14 January
RES Laois 1-16 Meath 2-13 Stradbally
Sunday 15 January
1400 Longford v IT Carlow, Glennon Bros Pearse Park
1400 Louth v Carlow, Dowdallshill
1400 Offaly v Kildare, O'Connor Park
1400 UCD v DCU, Belfield
1400 Westmeath v NUI Maynooth, Pairc Ciaran (Athlone GAA)
1400 Wexford v Dublin, Enniscorthy
1400 Wicklow v DIT, Blessington


Munster's big two may end up meeting in another Munster final on 2 July, but on Sunday next in Mallow, it's all about sealing a place in the McGrath.

Quite simply, the winner will advance. Both sides head into the fixture on the back of comprehensive wins over Tipperary.

After defeating Clare by four points on Wednesday evening, Limerick know that a victory against Waterford in Lemybrien on Sunday will seal their place in the decider.

Sunday 15 January
Cork v Kerry, Mallow
1400 Waterford v Limerick, Lemybrien


Cavan were the standout performers on day one after a deserved four-point win over Tyrone. No doubt all involved were trying to impress new boss Mattie McGleenan and so be in the reckoning for inclusion for the start of the league and a home date with Dublin.

For Tyrone, it was a day to forget. Conor McAliskey went off with a serious knee injury and will miss the entire season. Michael Cassidy, Rory Brennan and Ronan O’Neill also came off with injury.

The Red Hand will hope for better joy when they welcome UUJ to Healy Park on Saturday evening.

Cavan are in Ballybofey the following afternoon to face Donegal, who this week learned that Rory Kavanagh, Christy Toye and David Walsh have followed Eamonn McGee and Colm McFadden into retirement.

It's a case of all change now for the 2012 All-Ireland winners. Declan Bonner's U21s are rrpesenting the county in the McKenna Cup, a firm indicator then that the transition period has well and truly begun.

Saturday 14 January
Tyrone v UUJ, Healy Park *refixed for Sunday, 2pm, Carrickmore. 
Sunday 15 January
Armagh v Queens, Athletic Grounds
1400 Antrim v Monaghan, Glenavy
1400 Donegal v Cavan, MacCumhaill Park
1400 Down v Derry, Pairc Esler
1400 Fermanagh v St Mary's, Brewster Park 


There were opening round wins for Cork and Limerick and the pair will lock horns at the Gaelic Grounds in Round 2.

Shane Kingston, son of the manager Kieran, caught the eye in the half-forward line for the Rebels when scoring nine points against Kerry. Darragh Fitzgibbon and Michael Cahalane also scored heavily in the inside forward division.

A strong second-half surge saw Limerick get the better of an understrength Waterford in what was John Kiely's first competive match in charge.

Donal Moloney and Gerry O'Connor's first match in joint charge of the Clare senior hurlers takes them to Tralee for a clash with Kerry.

Sunday 15 January
Limerick v Cork, Gaelic Grounds
1400 Kerry v Clare, Austin Stack Park


Both Dublin and Galway have recorded two wins from two in the competition.

Looking at Sunday's fixtures, you'd fancy Wexford, Kilkenny Laois and Offaly to each collect a second brace of points.

Sunday 15 January 
1400 Carlow v Wexford, Netwatch Cullen Park
1400 Kilkenny v Antrim, Abbottstown
1400 Laois v DIT, Rathdowney 
1400 Offaly v IT Carlow, Birr 
1400 Meath v Kildare, Pairc Tailteann
1400 Westmeath v DCU, Kinnegad


1400 IT Tallaght v Trinity College, Bohernabreena (St Annes GAA)
1400 Louth v NUI Maynooth, Darver
1400 Wicklow v DCU-St Patricks, Bray

1330 Live score updates on all of Sunday's games on www.rte.ie/gaa
1400 RTE Radio 1's Sunday Sport will have reporters on the day's key games. 

On Sunday, scattered outbreaks of rain and drizzle for a time early on in the morning, then becoming largely dry. Temperatures will continue to increase through the day eventually reaching 10 or 11 degrees later on. Moderate westerly winds.