The eight teams in action have all come off the back of victories and all will know that another will leave them well primed against a provincial loser in a week's time. 

Remember all games must be decided on the day: if teams are level after 70 minutes there will be two periods of ten minutes extra-time, followed by two more of five if necessary, and, finally, a penalty-taking competition.



Kildare v Tyrone, St Conleth's Park,Newbridge, 5pm
Westmeath v Clare, TEG Cusack Park, 6pm
Mayo v Armagh, MacHale Park, 7pm
Laois v Offaly, O'Moore Park, Portlaoise, 7pm

Live blog on RTÉ.ie and the RTÉ News Now App from 4.30pm.

Saturday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1 from 2.45pm will have live commentary and updates on all four games, with Brian Carthy and Bernard Flynn at Kildare-Mayo, John Kenny and Michael Meehan at Westmeath-Clare, Pauric Lodge and Eamonn O'Hara at Mayo-Armagh and Adrian Eames at Mickey Quinn at Laois-Offaly. Joe Brolly will offer his analysis on all the evening's games.  

Coverage also on nó as gaeilge ar RnaG.

Sky Sports Arena
will have live coverage of Kildare-Tyrone from 4pm and Mayo-Armagh from 6.45pm. Both matches also live on GAAGO. Highlights of all the weekend's action on The Sunday Game and the RTÉ Player from 9.30pm on RTÉ2.  

A mix of cloud and sunny spells on Saturday with some heavy or thundery showers in places. Another warm day with maximum temperatures ranging 20 to 26 degrees in moderate southerly breezes. For more go to

Mayo's credentials to be tested by improving Armagh

It was on this very weekend last year that Mayo's championship journey came to an end. And as the team departed St Conleth's Park, it was generally felt that they had a crossed a bridge too far. However, a few weeks later there was a growing chorus that Mayo's absence at the business left something of a void in the race for Sam.

A year on and Mayo find themselves at a similar juncture and while they have comforts this time, that doesn't lessen the view that Armagh will be a tricky opponent at MacHale Park.

Kieran McGeeney's side, who were close to reaching an Ulster final, impressed when dispatching Monaghan from the qualifiers last weekend.  

In Newry, Mayo got the better of Down, though you couldn't say they were impressive in doing so. A goal seven minutes into the second half from Conor Loftus, proved to be crucial for the Green and Red, but defensively the side were jittery.

Down's Caolan Mooney and Conor Loftus of Mayo

Caolan Money caused the westerners more than a few problems with his runs from deep. He scored a fine goal and should have had a second, while Donal O'Hare also spurned a chance to raise a green flag. 

James Horan admitted to RTÉ Sport that Down's running game caused his team plenty of bother.

He said: "It was great to come up here and get the win. It was a tough game and we made a good few mistakes, but we did just enough to get through. 

"We rode our luck a good bit in the second half. I thought we did well in the first half, and once we got the goal we just stood off them a little bit and they caused us problems.

"The couple of games they had recently probably helped. They were flowing early. We struggled with their running at times. They got a good few goal chances in the second half, but thankfully our last ditch defending was strong and we got through.

Diarmuid O'Connor, after picking up a wrist injury, is now on the sidelines. His brother Cillian is not named in the starting XV to face Down and with Seamie O'Shea, Tom Parsons and Matthew Ruane still out injured, Mayo''s overall strength has been whittled down somewhat.

A plus, however, sees Donie Vaughan return to the fray this weekend in place of D O'Connor, and he will partner Aidan O'Shea in the middle. Michael Plunkett take over from Colm Boyle at number six, while in attack Mikey Murray, who showed well last weekend on his first championship appearance, replaces Jason Doherty and Fergal Boland comes in for Darren Coen.

Mayo don't need any more injury misfortune. If they clear this hurdle, they face three consecutive weekends of action, before another assignment on the August Bank Holiday weekend. Whether they have the reserves to meet those demands is open to question at this remove.


Armagh have more about them in the forward unit than Down and will be looking to cause Mayo some distress. Jamie Clarke, Rian O'Neill (pictured) and Andrew Murnin are a formidable trio in front of goal, while Niall Grimley and Jarlath Óg Burns are strong around the middle. 

Indeed, O'Neill from the Crossmaglen club is a player that is generating greater interest, with a tally of 2-19 in his four championship game so far. 

His club manager Donal Murtagh told the Irish News: "There is absolutely no end to what that man can achieve in Gaelic football. 

"That man can be the best player in Ireland if he wants to be. He has absolutely everything."

Did you know

I don't think Mayo fans might like this, while others may be fed up to back teeth but the last time the sides met in the championship was in the 1950 All-Ireland semi-final. Mayo prevailed and went on to claim Sam.

Mayo: David Clarke; Chris Barrett, Brendan Harrison, Keith Higgins; Lee Keegan, Michael Plunkett, Patrick Durcan(capt); Donal Vaughan, Aidan O'Shea; Fionn McDonagh, Conor Loftus, Mike Murray; Kevin McLoughlin, Andy Moran, Fergal Boland.

Pressure of sorts on O'Neill and Harte

Cian O'Neill

Journalist Damien Lawlor, while speaking on 2fm's Game on spoke about the increasing likelihood that this will be Cian O'Neill's last season in charge of Kildare. Davy Burke, who managed the Lilies U20s to All-Ireland glory last year, Johnny Doyle and Glen Ryan are just some of the names, according to Lawlor that are in frame to form part of any management team.  

You can only beat what's in front of you and Kildare did exactly that and with something to spare when accounting for Antrim in Round 2. Adam Tyrrell and Neil Flynn both put in huge displays for the victors who, in front of a packed St Conleth's Park will be looking to eject the 'backdoor specialists' Tyrone from this year's competition.

Kildare did reach the Super 8s and while they did not win a match, they were competitive. Victory over their Ulster opponents would be a spark to really ignite their season. 

Tyrone got their season back on track against Longford

Cathal McShane's two first-half goals set Mickey Harte's men on their way against Longford. In the end they had to four points to spare, but the margin flattered their opponents.

Speaking on Paddy PowerNews, former Tyrone star Owen Mulligan believes the pressure cooker will really be turned up on Harte if their summer ends in Newbridge.

"It was a nothing game for Tyrone on Saturday. Win by ten points and you were playing a poor team. Don't win by enough and you are a poor team. It’s hard to know where we are with Tyrone at the minute. There are still loads of question marks around them.

"When Mickey started running the bench the arse fell out of it a bit and Longford ended up posting a scoreline that definitely flattered them. Tyrone for their part look like a side not happy in their own skin. I see too many long faces coming out of changing rooms after games. It all looks like too much hard work for them at present.

"A trip to Kildare on Saturday night isn’t a nice place to go to start feeling better about yourself. A win is a must for Tyrone or the knives will be out for Harte. It’s very much a case of a win in 'Newbridge or Nowhere’ for Tyrone this weekend."

Tomás Ó Sé's view

"It's hard to gauge Kildare. Tyrone will try to suffocate them and hit them on the counter.

Tyrone beat Longford but they have to still be brittle after Donegal so they are there for the taking as well.

Will Kildare have the patience, the doggedness, the possession to win it? I'm not sure. I'll go for Tyrone, just.

It's a third championship meeting between the sides, with Tyrone winning the previous two in 2009 and 2013.

Draw opens up possibilities 

Clare's Gary Brennan

With the four stronger teams of the octet battling it out elsewhere, Westmeath, Clare, Laois and Offaly, will be looking to build up more momentum with wins this weekend ahead of a date with a provincial loser.

The Banner, who gave Kerry some problems in the Munster semi-final, were impressive in ending Leitrim's season last Saturday. Gary Brennan, Eoin Cleary and David Tubridy led the scoring charge.

They now head to Mullingar to take on a Westmeath side, who weren't overly eye-catching in seeing off Limerick. Ger Egan is still the Lake County's main threat in front of goal, but Jack Cooney's will have to up it a notch or two if their summer is to continue.

Eon Lowry with his goal in Owenbeg

Laois, despite a feeling that they would not get over Derry last weekend, proved me wrong. A late Eoin Lowry goal helped the midlanders advance and they now they welcome neighbours Offaly to O'Moore.

John Maughan's side have had a decent summer so far, with a narrow loss to Meath in Leinster, followed by impressive wins over London and Sligo in the qualifiers.

Tomás Ó Sé's view

"A lot of people would see Laois as favourites here but it's a local derby and that's not the way it's going to happen; I think it's going to be very close.

"I think the way both teams would like to play football will lead to an open game.

"In the forwards, you have the Kingstons, Evan O'Carroll and Colm Murphy on one side and the McNamees and Bernard Allen on the other. If they get enough ball, they both have the chance of winning the game.

John Maughan eyes a third championship win on the spin for Offaly

Offaly manager John Maughan has kept faith with his starting 15 their O'Moore Park assignment.

The team that recorded an 11-point win over Sligo in Tullamore all retain their places for the midlands derby. 

Offaly: Paddy Dunican; Declan Hogan, Eoin Rigney, David Dempsey; Cian Donohoe, Johnny Moloney, Niall Darby (capt); Eoin Carroll, Peter Cunningham; Shane Horan, Anton Sullivan, Cathal Mangan; Bernard Allen, Niall McNamee, Ruairí McNamee.