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Marc Ó Sé: Momentum with Armagh for Donegal duel

| 11.06.2022

Marc Ó Sé takes a look at all four matches in the All-Ireland Senior Championship this weekend.

Clare v Roscommon (Sat, 15.45)

Both teams drew in the league at Dr Hyde Park in February, a game that Clare should probably have gone on to win so there will be no lack of confidence from the Banner on Saturday. Clare beat Meath last weekend which will certainly give them momentum facing into this weekend’s game.

Eoin Cleary and the experienced David Tubridy are two excellent match-winners up front, while Jamie Malone and Conor Jordan give plenty of stability at the back. That said, the Rossies have had the tougher test in the lead-up to this game and the two-week rest is the perfect preparation for this encounter. With the Dalys in defence and the attacking power of the Murtaghs, the Smiths and Conor Cox, I fancy Roscommon to overcome the -4 handicap at 11/10.

Mayo v Kildare (Sat, 18.00)

You definitely need the rub of the green in certain matches and Mayo certainly had that against Monaghan, who should have had a penalty late on in the game. That said, Mayo were full value for their victory especially when you consider they were missing injured players, most notably Ryan O Donoghue who has been in flying form this year.

If Mayo get him back for this game you would really fancy them because, in all honesty, Kildare’s defence was absolutely abysmal against Dublin. The way Dublin carved Kildare open and took them for six goals will be hard to bounce back from. Kildare’s only hope is to kick quick ball into their full forward line (their most dangerous line by the way) just like Monaghan tried to find Gary Mohan early on against Mayo with great success. Even then, I am clutching at straws. My bet for this game is Cillian O’Connor for the first goal at 6/1.

Cork v Limerick (Sun, 13.30)

This promises to be a great encounter between the two Munster teams who will both fancy their chances of making the quarter-finals. Seeing both teams up close against Kerry I have to say that Cork certainly put on the better show. Whether that is raising your performance for the ‘Auld Enemy’ or maybe actually seeing general improvements in Cork, it’s hard to know. I think it’s the latter.

I saw enough of them against Kerry and Louth to give them the edge here. Louth played with 14 players behind the ball for large periods of the game and only came out to play when they had to but with Sherlock and Hurley up front for Cork I just feel they have more firepower than Limerick. My prediction here is Cork by 4-6 points which is 7/2.

Donegal v Armagh (Sun, 16.00)

Sometimes all a team needs is to get momentum at the right time. That’s exactly what Armagh have in my opinion after their fantastic performance against Tyrone last weekend. Now I know Tyrone were poor and when you contrast their performances this year to last year there is a glaring difference.

However, last Sunday was all about a performance for Armagh and Kieran Donaghy said the exact same in his post-match interview. Armagh had so much energy against Tyrone and the platform was created from the backline with James Morgan, Jarlath Óg Burns and Aidan Forker in outstanding form. Ethan Rafferty is also very adventurous for a goalkeeper and got forward to kick two points.

If Armagh can show the same attacking prowess on Sunday, this will be one hell of a game. We all know how good Rian O’Neill is but if Aidan Nugent continues his rich vein of form, Armagh will take some beating. The positioning of Michael Murphy will be very interesting for this game. If Donegal decide to play him out the field, Armagh will expose him here with quick runners tearing up the field. We saw what Brendan Rogers did. Like I said, momentum is everything. I still won’t rule out the draw at 7/1 but I see Armagh qualifying for the next round at 5/6.

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Warren Barner