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Marc Ó Sé: Kildare can spring surprise against struggling Dublin

| 24.02.2022

Three-time All Star Marc Ó Sé casts his eye over the four inter-county games in Division One this weekend and fancies Kildare to spring a surprise against Dublin. 

Donegal v Tyrone – Saturday, 19.30

Donegal were very poor against Kerry last weekend. Without Michael Murphy, they lacked leadership. They made no use of the relentless wind in the second half, especially when there were opportunities to go after Kerry in the third quarter. They only had one point in 20 minutes after half-time and that is very poor.

Tyrone had goals from Conn Kilpatrick and Darren McCurry to see off a dogged Kildare side. Losing four starters to suspension and still getting two points on the board was impressive and to be able to call on those guys now will be huge for Tyrone.

There’s never much between these two teams, especially two Ulster teams, but with Murphy missing again, I give Tyrone the edge here.

Kildare v Dublin – Sunday, 13.45

Kildare were very unlucky not to come away with something last weekend and will be disappointed with only one point after three games. Daniel Flynn, Paul Cribbin and Jimmy Hyland all performed very well at the weekend. If Kildare can get early ball to Flynn and and Hyland, they can definitely target what I would call a very vulnerable Dublin fullback line at the moment.

Dublin are under serious pressure now having lost all three opening games in the National League. When have we ever seen this happen before? Johnny Cooper added a bit of steel to them last weekend but they need more players back if they’re to improve.

Both teams will be well up for it. If Dublin lose here, relegation is a huge risk at this stage so expect improvements. However, I think Kildare will up their game also, so for me I am going with a Kildare home win.

Monaghan v Kerry – Sunday, 14.00

Monaghan is such a difficult place to go and get results and that is speaking from experience. We were always faced with huge battles in Monaghan. Donie Buckley, a Kerryman, is working there in the background now, so he will know all about the Kerry players and that will be a huge advantage to Monaghan.

Monaghan were in complete control in the first half against Armagh and will take great strength from that. However, their finishing at times was poor. They hit ten wides in the first half, coupled with allowing Armagh back into the game in the second half so they will be disappointed with that. Conor McManus also got a red card so he will be a big loss. That said, they will take inspiration from that the fact that they got a draw against Armagh, who are the team of the league so far.

Kerry didn’t get tested by Donegal and also we struggled around the middle of the field to gain primary possession. Ryan McAnespie and McManus will be huge losses and I think this game will go down to the last kick though and I wouldn’t rule out a draw.

Mayo v Armagh – Sunday, 14.00

This is the game of the weekend. Two teams who are evenly matched in my view. Armagh showed a never-say-die attitude against Monaghan. Inspirational scores from Oisin O’Neill and obviously Rian O’Neill have lit up the league so far.

James Horan seems to be able to find new players. Aidan Orme scored a goal and a point, Ryan O’Donoghue was buzzing, Lee Keegan is flying in defence, and Matthew Ruane is doing very well around midfield.

I think it’ll be the first time Armagh come up against a team that will be defensively very strong. The emphasis for Armagh has been to kick a quick ball into Oisin O’Neill but I think that Mayo ‘s defensive structure will make that a lot harder for them. With that in mind, I am going to go with a Mayo win.

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