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spillane's verdict A fine line between success and failure for Galway as they face All-Ireland champs Dublin


Paul Conroy of Galway in action against Roscommon's Cathal Cregg and Eddie Nolan

Paul Conroy of Galway in action against Roscommon's Cathal Cregg and Eddie Nolan

Paul Conroy of Galway in action against Roscommon's Cathal Cregg and Eddie Nolan


Division 1 South

Galway v Dublin

Tuam, 3.45pm TG4

This is a big match for Galway – victory would put them in the league semi-final while a loss means a relegation play-off. The big positive for Padraic Joyce last Sunday was that his team achieved their first win in five attempts, and he got a performance from his players.

But they face a Dublin side who are motoring through the gears and probably want to reach the latter stages of the league as it will be their last opportunity to have a meaningful game before the All-Ireland semi-final.

Verdict: Dublin

Roscommon v Kerry

Dr Hyde Park, 3.45pm TG4 Player

Roscommon have nothing to play for and face a relegation play-off regardless of today’s result.

They have been very poor so far – only managing 1-4 from play against Galway.

Regardless of the result, Kerry will probably go through due to their +22 scoring difference. But after what happened against Dublin, they need a 70-minute performance.

Irrespective of Kerry’s defensive frailties, I can’t see the Roscommon defence coping with David Clifford and company.

Verdict: Kerry

Division 2 north

Westmeath v Down

Mullingar, 1.45pm GAAGO

This is a dead rubber as both are in the relegation play-off regardless of the result. Down have discovered to their cost that there is a big gap between the standard of football in Division 3 and Division 2. Worst still, their ultra-defensive football cuts no ice in this division.

Westmeath’s performance against Mayo impressed. Defensively they are very well organised and full-back Kevin Maguire was outstanding. They are an improving team but need to get the balance right between defence and attack.

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Verdict: Westmeath

Mayo v Meath

Castlebar, 1.45pm GAAGO

Both teams have qualified for the semi-final so the issue is whether they will experiment or go for another win.

Mayo made heavy weather of getting past Westmeath’s defensive system. Their athleticism around the middle third as well as the prowess of their half back line is what gets them over the line.

They might have a bit too much experience for a Meath side who appear to have recovered from the mauling Dublin subjected to them in last year’s Leinster final. PS Watch Cillian O’Sullivan scoring a wonder goal against Down – it was a real gem.

Verdict: Mayo

Division 2 South

Clare v Cork

Ennis, 1.45pm TG4

Clare need a draw to secure a place in the promotion play-off where a win would guarantee them Division 1 football next season. What Colm Collins has achieved with them is incredible.

They’re the only team in Division 2 which has never played in the top-flight – indeed, the other seven all played there in the last seven years. Cork got the show back on the road last weekend but in the tight confines of Ennis they might struggle against the Clare defence.

Verdict: Clare

Laois v Kildare

Portlaoise, 1.45pm TG4

The clash of the two Leinster sides managed by Kerrymen. It’s fair to say that neither Jack O’Connor or Mike Quirke have set the world slight so far in their adopted counties.

Kildare have the potential and the forwards, but O’Connor has not got the best out of them. I watched Laois in the first round, they lacked pace and played with no tempo. Last Sunday they scored 0-1 from play against Cork in the second half which suggests they’re for the drop.

Verdict: Kildare

Division 4 North

Antrim v Leitrim

Corrigan Park, 3.0pm GAAGO

Leitrim have nothing to play for and their fortunes are unlikely to improve today. What I like about Antrim is their spirit – they came from behind against both Louth and Sligo to carve out crucial wins. No such heroics are will be needed today.

Verdict: Antrim

Louth v Sligo

Haggardstown, 3.0pm GAAGO

The winner is guaranteed a place in the play-off. With home advantage and a big win over Sligo the form book suggests a victory for Mickey Harte’s side.

However, I have a sneaky feeling that Tony McEntee might have the last laugh with Sligo causing a minor upset.

Verdict: Sligo

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