Marc Ó Sé previews six GAA Championship matches this weekend
Marc Ó Sé gives us his thoughts on six fixtures taking place this weekend
Down will certainly not be happy with how they finished up the league.
It is hard to put my finger on what’s happening up there at the moment but with wee James (McCartan) in charge you would expect a total buy in and with the return of the Kilkoo lads the response has been dismal.
Monaghan, having just about survived Division 1, will want to push on and go two steps further than last year.
They will look at how close they were to eventual All-Ireland champions Tyrone and that might just be the motivation they need.
I saw Monaghan v Donegal and I was very impressed in what I saw. They are the first team to beat Donegal there since 2010.
Monaghan on their day have real quality and with McManus, Woods, Duffy, and McCarthy, they will have too much for Down on this occasion.
Sligo have already taken a scalp out of Roscommon this month with a great victory for the U20 Team over Roscommon so spirits will certainly be high in the county at the moment.
Add into that the fact Sligo will consider themselves very unlucky not to gain promotion to Division 3 this year, finishing just behind both Tipperary and Cavan.
However, Roscommon hold all the aces here and with Mayo out of the Connacht Championship, Roscommon could see this as a huge opportunity in winning Connacht for the second time in four years.
Having gained promotion to Division 1 and beating Galway in the National League Division 2 final, it’s Roscommon for me by seven or eight points.
This to me will be one of the most mouth-watering ties of the weekend.
There is a great buzz in Limerick at the moment and it’s not all down to the hurlers.
The footballers are now making great gains also and have a lot of people in Limerick and in Munster talking about them.
They are now in Division 2. The top 16 in Ireland. A great achievement for Billy Lee and his men.
However they will be taking on a Clare team who are already in the top 16 having held onto Division 2 status in the league and finished ahead of Down, Meath and Cork.
This game will come down to the middle eight and who gains most possession, as both teams have decent forwards.
I think Hugh Bourke, Aidan Enright and Josh Ryan have been in great form of late, though, and I will just give Limerick the nod by a point or two.
Wexford will be very disappointed with their League campaign and with Dublin coming to town Wexford will go straight into the Tailteann Cup after this game.
This will be a repeat of the 2021 fixture where Wexford really put it up to Dublin for large periods of the game.
However, you can’t just press a switch and expect your form to improve.
Dublin won’t be too disappointed about going down to Division 2 in my opinion because ultimately championship is where it’s at.
With a fit-again Con O’Callaghan, there will be purpose to the Dublin attack.
Dublin to win this with ease.
Louth will be thrilled to be going up to Division 2 and with Mickey Harte now at the helm, things are very positive in the Wee County at the moment.
With Sam Mulroy in flying form this will be a great battle.
Kildare will be disappointed to go down to Division 2 but they had some very good moments in the league particularly against both Kerry and Dublin where they proved to be very hard to break down.
Kildare have too much quality in my opinion to lose this game and in Paddy Woodgate, Jimmy Hyland, and Daniel Flynn, they have great options up front.
Kildare to win just but expect a great battle from an in-form Louth.
It all just fell apart for Derry in the closing stages of the National League.
They should have beaten Roscommon with the last kick of the game and would have done so had Shane McGuigan been on the pitch.
However, they were very flat against Galway and were well beaten.
That said Rory Gallagher has done really well with them bringing them from Division 4 to almost Division 1 and with Chrissy McGaigue and Conor Glass in their ranks, along with Shane McGuigan up front, they are a match for most teams.
However, Tyrone are not most teams.
They are the All-Ireland champions and there is now a very settled look to their team and they are playing with the swagger of being All Ireland champs.
Tyrone’s biggest challenge will be to replace the seven players who left their panel this year.
However, that challenge won’t affect them against Derry as they will have far too much ammunition to dispose of Derry.
Tyrone by 5 or 6 for me.