SATURDAY 16 APRIL
Ulster SFC preliminary round
Fermanagh v Tyrone, Brewster Park, 6.30pm
SUNDAY 17 APRIL
Connacht SFC quarter-finals
London v Leitrim, Ruislip, 2.30pm
New York v Sligo, Gaelic Park, 7.30pm
Live blog on RTÉ Sport Online and RTÉ News Now app
Fermanagh v Tyrone live on Sky Sports Arena from 6pm. New York v Sligo available to watch worldwide on GAAGO. Highlights of all the weekend's action on The Sunday Game, RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player, from 9.30pm.
Live commentaries on Saturday Sport and Sunday on RTÉ Radio 1 and in Irish on Raidió na Gaeltachta.
Saturday: Any overnight mist or fog will clear early on Saturday to give a mostly dry start with sunny spells, though patchy drizzle will affect southern counties. During the afternoon, thickening cloud along with outbreaks of rain will gradually move in across the western half of Ireland, heaviest closest to the Atlantic coast. Much of the east and northeast will likely stay dry with sunny spells. Highest temperatures of 13 to 17 degrees generally in moderate to fresh southeasterly winds.
Sunday: A wet start in many areas with widespread falls of rain early, followed in turn by heavy showers with the chance of hail. Highest temperatures of 12 to 15 degrees, but turning cooler as the rain clears. Breezy in moderate to fresh southwesterly winds. For more go to met.ie.
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So away we go again
A championship, in the main, reverting to the pre-2018 format, with the introduction of the Tailteann Cup for Division 3 and 4 teams who don't reach a provincial final. Much focus will be on the latter competition with regard to how serious it is taken. The hope is that will have a future in the calendar, a springboard for teams to excel in forthcoming years.
This year, however, is an end of an era - the final whirl for the qualifiers. The back door will shut and from next year we'll have four groups of four contesting the race for Sam Maguire following the provincial series. The Tailteann Cup will adopt a similar format. A lot more games to come in 2023. Some teams may end up playing 11 games to get their hands on the big prize.
That's for the future. For now we have three games to look forward to over this Easter weekend. No disrespect to those involved, but it's not exactly a blockbuster opening.
Early start for Red Hand as they eye successful defence
Paul Donaghy was the latest player to walk away from the Tyrone squad, when announcing this week that he won't be involved for the rest of 2022. Mark Bradley, Ronan O'Neill, Michael Cassidy, Tiernan McCann, Lee Brennan and Hugh Pat McGeary made a similar decision. It's a high turnover for any squad and perhaps not ideal for Tyrone, who will be looking to win back-to-back All-Irelands for the first time.
Donaghy, who came on as a sub in last year's final against Mayo and earlier scored ten points against Donegal in the league, deprives the Red Hand of another attacking option. Granted he got little action in this year's league, but his departure leaves another chink in the Tyrone armoury, according to Peter Canavan.
He recently told Belfast Live: "He has serious potential. He was player of the Championship in Tyrone two years ago. He hadn't seen a lot of game time maybe in the league.
"Just purely from the point of view that it weakens Tyrone, I would be disappointed."
The All-Ireland champions had a mixed league campaign. A win away to Kerry on the final day guaranteed their safety, this after a narrow victory over Mayo. It was a case of Tyrone saving their best until last, with Darren McCurry exceling in notching up 1-07 against the Kingdom.
Brewster Park will now welcome the Sam Maguire holders. Fermanagh were in the promotion mix from Division 3 on the final day but a defeat away to Limerick ended their quest.
The non-awarding of what looked like a legitimate point by Seán Quigley in an earlier game against Westmeath was contentious.
The panel on the Sean Quigley point that wasn't as Fermanagh drew with Westmeath in their Division 3 encounter in Mullingar #rtegaa #AllianzLeagueSunday pic.twitter.com/SBYADoal2e— RTÉ GAA (@RTEgaa) March 20, 2022
Footage from the Fermanagh county board showed what looked like a score.
The match ended level. We're into ifs and buts territory had Fermanagh been awarded the two points in Mullingar.
- Fermanagh and Tyrone meet for the first time in Ulster since 2007 when the latter won a quarter-final by 0-13 to 1-9.
- Fermanagh are seeking their first Ulster championship win over Tyrone for 40 years.
- Championship games between the counties tend to produce few goals. The last eight games have had only eight goals. Neither team scored two goals in any of those games. The last time two goals were scored by one team was in 1968 when Fermanagh won by 2-8 to 0-8.
For the first time in three years, London and New York are back competing in the Connacht championship. Leitrim are the visitors to McGovern Park in Ruislip, while Sligo head to Gaelic Park.
London made a dash early doors in Division 4 of the league, winning their first three games, including a brace of points picked up when accounting for their opponents on Sunday at the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence. That one-point loss put an early dent in Leitrim's promotion push.
New York recently warmed up for their date with the Yeats County with a game against Galway club side Salthill Knocknacarra. They lost narrowly, with a separate 15 taking taking the field for the second half and a number of subs introduced throughout.
New York are managed by Johnny McGeeney, a native of Culloville in Co Armagh. Two miles away is the birthplace of current Sligo boss Tony McEntee, an All-Ireland winner with both his club (Crossmaglen) and county. And now the two men are managing sides from outside the province of Ireland and will come face-to-face some 3,000 miles from home.
New York are captained by Jamie Boyle who will likely start at full-back with former Down goalkeeper Michael Cunningham behind him in goals. Galway duo Adrian Varley and Johnny Glynn are also two big threats while Alan Campbell, a Munster winner with Tipperary in 2020, will shore up the defence. Also like to be in the squad is Armagh man Tony Donnelly, who grew up in Culloville and happened to enjoy a fierce rivalry with both Crossmaglen and Culloville.
In other team news, the highly influential Keith Beirne will be absent for Leitrim as he failed to have the red card picked up against Sligo overturned. The Yeats County's Sean Carrabine, who was dismissed in the same game, had his suspension overturned. Niall Murphy is available again after missing the latter stages of the league.
- Championship games between London and Leitrim have been very close affairs in recent times. Leitrim have won three of the last five by an average of 2.6 points; London won one by a point while another was drawn. Sunday's winners will play Galway or Mayo in the semi-final.
- Roscommon await the winners of New York/Sligo in the semis.