The summer campaign is about to crank up another gear this weekend, with the meeting of Cork and Tipperary in the Munster hurling quarter-final, while in football Donegal and Mayo begin their quest for provincial honours, writes James McMahon.


Ulster SFC preliminary round
1900 Monaghan v Fermanagh, Clones

Christy Ring Cup semi-finals
1500 Carlow v Wicklow, Netwatch Cullen Park
1700 Antrim v Down, Cushendall

Christy Ring Cup relegation play-off
1700 Mayo v Roscommon, Páirc Sean Mac Diarmada

Nicky Rackard Cup semi-final
1500 Tyrone v Armagh, Carrickmore
1700 Monaghan v Derry, Inniskeen

Lory Meagher Cup Round 5
1300 Fermanagh v Cavan, Lisbellaw
1500 Lancashire v Warwickshire, Old Bedians
1500 Leitrim v Sligo, Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada


Connacht SFC quarter-final
1400 Mayo v Sligo, McHale Park

Munster SHC quarter-final
1600 Tipperary v Cork, Semple Stadium

Ulster SFC quarter-final
1600 Donegal v Antrim, Ballybofey

Leinster SFC preliminary round
1500 Louth v Wicklow, Parnell Park
1500 Laois v Longford, O'Moore Park
1500 Carlow v Wexford, Netwatch Cullen Park

Live blog on RTÉ.ie and the RTÉ News Now App from 1500 on Saturday and 1330 on Sunday. 

Saturday: Monaghan v Fermanagh live on RTÉ2 from 1840 and on BBC Two from 1840
Sunday: Mayo v Sligo and Cork v Tipperary live on RTÉ2 from 1315
Highlights of all the weekend's action on The Sunday Game on RTÉ2 from 2130

Live games also available on GAAGO

Saturday: Live commentary on Monaghan v Fermanagh on Saturday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1, with updates on the day's other games.
Sunday: Live commentary on Mayo v Sligo, Donegal v Antrim and Tipperary v Cork on Sunday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1. Regular updates on the three Leinster football championship games. 

A mix of sunshine and showers on Saturday, some of the showers turning heavy in the afternoon with a risk of hail and thunder. Highest temperatures of 12 to 16 Celsius in light to moderate southwest breezes but fresh along the southeast coast.

On Sunday, cloud will increase during Sunday morning and scattered outbreaks of rain and drizzle will affect west Munster, Connacht and north-west Ulster. In the afternoon much of the country will stay dry but some patchy mist/drizzle/light rain will occur here and there. It will become a warm humid day with highs of 16 to 18 degrees in southerly breezes. 


Monaghan v Fermanagh - Ulster SFC preliminary round

The league brought stark outcomes for these counties. Monaghan comfortably kept their place in Division 1 and looked on course for a final appearance when they lead Dublin by six points with 20 minutes remaining.

Pete McGrath's Fermanagh made the drop to Division 3 after they were reeled in late on by Derry on the final day. 

Jack McCarron has really made a name for himself in the Farney colours this year and scored a terrific 1-09 against the Dubs on 2 April.

He starts at full-forward on Saturday, with Conor McCarthy and Conor McManus either side of him.

After reaching the All-Ireland quarter-final in 2015 and then running Mayo close last year, Fermanagh fans will be expecting the side to give them a few good days out in the weeks head.

However, with the likes of Ruairi Corrigan, Declan McCusker and Eoin McManus out through injury and other key names not available, the mood music from the Ernesiders is certainly not cheerful.

Monaghan are expected to prevail and so book a date with Cavan on 11 June - but Malachy O'Rourke and co will be wary in light of their last championship which saw them fall to Longfortd on home soil.

Mayo v Sligo - Connacht SFC quarter-final

On paper this should be a comfortable win for Stephen Rochford's side but Sligo will take heart from the professional job that saw them avoid an upset in New York, while also wanting to atone for the horror show that was the Connacht final loss to their neighbours two summers ago.

The McHale Park clash is the first step for Mayo in their quest to regain the Connacht crown. Victory would set up a mouth-watering clash with Galway in three weeks' time. Mayo, you would think, would probably be keen to avoid the scenic route in their quest to finally land Sam Maguire.

They will be keen to start with purpose on Sunday afternoon. Aidan O'Shea has been named on the bench, but Ger Cafferkey returns after missing almost all of last season through injury. 

Sligo manager Niall Carew sticks with the same XV that started against New York.

Tipperary v Cork - Munster SHC quarter-final

Last year in the rain, Tipperary had little difficulty in overcoming a toothless Cork challenge. Twelve months on and the expectation is that the Rebels will put up a better against show against the reigning Munster and All-Ireland champions.

Kieran Kingston certainly got a tune out of his youthful Cork side during the league and would hve earmarked 21 May as a date for his side to deliver something special.

Tipperary have had four weeks to shake off the disappointment of that crushing loss to Galway in the league. In truth, nobody saw that reverse happening, but that said Michael Ryan's side still retain the confidence of most observers that they can regain the big prize in September. 

Speaking to the RTÉ GAA Podcast, former Tipp player and manager Ken Hogan believes the ruthlessness will return to aid the Premier cause.

"We had a huge hiccup, and that's never a good thing to happen to any team, particularly the manner of the defeat," Hogan said of the League final.

"The lads are sore and they are champing at the bit. Mick Ryan will have instilled that pride in the jersey and the belief and the will to fight for the ball and to win hard ball, and that wasn't apparent in the League final.

"It's Championship now, and that type of ruthlessness that Mick brought in, I'm sure he'll instil that again, and I think that will take Tipp through."

As for Cork, Hogan added: "Kieran Kingston has quietly and efficiently been working with his team.

"He's been putting this team together, it's rare that Rome gets built in a day. 

"He has a strong management set-up there with the Rock (Diarmuid O'Sullivan) and Pat Hartnett, men of steel in their day with Cork.

"I think Cork will be hoping they can have a big day in the sun. They've prepared very well and Kieran has his son, Shane, firing on all cylinders.

The prize for the winner on Sunday is a date with Waterford at Semple on 18 June.