courtesy of RTE
Roscommon v Donegal – 5pm – Dr Hyde Park
Both teams are under pressure after last weekend. I think it was a strange one for Donegal. They seemed like they didn’t push on in that last quarter against the Dubs. They played very well in patches, but just fell off the last 15 minutes. They created a lot chances and defended well at times. They did a lot better than I thought they would.
Roscommon played well against an open and long-kicking Armagh, but were ruthlessly shown up last weekend. They conceded 4-24 and that’s tough. They’ll be at home and want to improve. There is no doubt they will improve but I just think Donegal will have too much. They were dogged last week and had some great long range scores. I think Donegal will have a bit too much for Roscommon here.
Tyrone v Dublin – 7pm – Healy Park
This willl be some battle. It will give Mickey Harte another chance to test his under-fire style of football against the best. To be fair to Mickey he stuck to his guns and I admire him for that. He has come through a long backdoor route. Meath, Carlow, Cavan, Cork, Roscommon last weekend. I think it’s their running game that really creates everything. The second runner, third runner, fourth runner, Colm Cavanagh and Frank Burns at the back organising everything.
The Dubs are a different animal from facing Roscommon, though. It’s chalk and cheese. The Dubs did enough last wekened but they won’t be happy with some of the loose stuff. For me it’s how they will deal with Tyrone’s running game. It’s the acid test for Mickey Harte as Tyrone won’t kick it so what happens if the Dubs stifle it. Will Tyrone score enough? My guess is no and I think Dublin’s forwards will grind out the result for them.
Kildare v Galway – St Conleith’s Park – 2pm – RTÉ2
Another 8,500 stuffed down there, it’ll be a brilliant atmoshphere. Kildare were unlucky not to get something out of last weekend in my opinion. That game was in the balance. Monaghan finished stronger and Kildare possibly carried ball into tackles where they got turned over a little bit too often, but they did very well. They will look to Daniel and Neil Flynn for the scoring.
Galway were outstanding last week, in patches. I think there are areas they can improve on. They are down Kieran Duggan and now they have lost Paul Conroy. They are two first-choice midfielders. They created a lot of scoring chances. Last year they were well beaten by Kerry so they have come on an awful lot. They have a plan and stick to it. I expect Galway to win this but I think it’ll be close.
Monaghan v Kerry – Clones – 4pm – RTÉ2
This is a defining match for both. Kerry were very poor last weekend and didn’t perform. It’s not good enough at this level. They went away from pace, directness, intense pressure. I’d argue the template they used against lesser opposition in Munster is needed again.
If Monaghan win they will reach that semi-final that they have so badly wanted. They have tried for so long. Karl O’Connell gave one of the best displays all year last weekend. They will want to get inside Kerry’s head. Kerry owe manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice a big performance here and I think they’ll get it. I think Kerry will just about win it.