big-match verdicts | 

Pat Spillane’s predictions for all Sunday’s Allianz League games

Tom Flynn of Galway in action against Colm Cavanagh of Tyrone. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

Daniel O'Mahony has been in good form for Cork. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

23 February 2020; Tom Flynn of Galway in action against Colm Cavanagh of Tyrone during the Allianz Football League Division 1 Round 4 match between Galway and Tyrone at Tuam Stadium in Tuam, Galway. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

New Down manager Conor Laverty is doing a good job. Photo: Ben McShane/Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

Pat SpillaneSunday World

(All at 2.0 unless stated)

Allianz Football League

Division 1

Galway v Tyrone Tuam Stadium, 1.45. TG4 Deferred. Live on TG4 app

Despite all the kudos they received in the wake of last year’s All-Ireland final, Galway have secured just one league point from four. They could easily be pulled into a relegation battle, unless they win today.

No prizes in guessing where their problems are. The absence of Shane Walsh, who is on holiday, and injured duo Damien Comer and Rob Finnerty is hurting them.

Against Roscommon, their starting forwards got the grand total of two points from play.

After a woeful performance against Roscommon, Tyrone joint-bosses Brian Dooher and Feargal Logan got the desired response from their players against Donegal.

This was a typical Tyrone effort – full of commitment and intensity, with the players’ work-rate top class. A repeat today could secure a win.


Monaghan v Donegal Clones, 1.45

Monaghan’s hopes of playing in Division 1 for a tenth consecutive season are hanging by a thread – and if they lose today I can’t see them surviving.

Donegal were excellent for 50 minutes in Ballybofey, outscoring Kerry 10-3 – but were completely off the pace against Tyrone, scoring only 0-5 from play.

But I think they are still better than the home side.

VERDICT: Donegal

Roscommon v Armagh Dr Hyde Park, 1.45. Live on TG4

Hands up – I didn’t expect Roscommon to be top of Division 1 after two rounds.

Their traditional fighting spirit has been very much in evidence: three points down against Tyrone, they came back to win by five; against Galway, they scored the last five points to secure a memorable one-point away win.

Even though I tipped Armagh to win the league I’m unsure about them now.

In the first half against Monaghan they converted only five out of 16 chances, while they were completely overrun in the third quarter by Mayo.

On the other hand, they produced an excellent third quarter against Monaghan and an even better final quarter against Mayo when, despite being five points down in the 67th minute, they fought back to earn a draw.


Daniel O'Mahony has been in good form for Cork. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

Division 2

Clare v Kildare Cusack Park, Ennis

For pointless Kildare this is a must-win game – and Cusack Park is not the most hospitable place when you are desperate for points.

Only Tipperary, Longford, Limerick and Waterford have a worse scoring difference than the Lilies. I just can’t figure them out.

Clare are organised defensively and good on the counter-attack.

It was most unlike them to concede four goals against Meath.

Provided they address this issue they might sneak their second home win today.


Louth v Limerick Ardee

Both are pointless after two rounds, so the losers are virtually certain to be relegated – and will thus feature in the 2023 Tailteann Cup, unless they reach a provincial final.

With a minus 21 scoring difference, Limerick are struggling – though they did outscore Dublin by four points in the second half and kept them scoreless in the third quarter. But, in truth, that game was over by half-time.

Louth are the unluckiest team in the competition.

Three points up against Clare in the 67th minute they still lost – and the concession of a late goal cost them the points against Derry.

Don’t expect the scoreboard operator to be busy today.


Cork v Dublin Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 3.45. Live on TG4

This is the biggest game in this division today but I can’t give you any insights, as I still haven’t a handle on either team.

Cork look like a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde outfit – having conceded 3-14 against Meath at home, they then hit Kildare for 2-14 in Newbridge.

I don’t think their counter-attacking, running game is going to prove a winner.

Today, they will encounter a blue-tinted wall when they reach the Dublin 45m line.

The bad news for Dublin is that, so far, they haven’t unearthed any new talent, but I think they are just fluting around and haven’t shown their hand at all.

They switched off once they got 13 points ahead against Limerick –which ought to concern them because, under Jim Gavin, standards never dropped.


New Down manager Conor Laverty is doing a good job. Photo: Ben McShane/Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

Division 3

Fermanagh v Down Ederney, 1.0. BBC NI Player

Fermanagh were very impressive against Longford in round one, winning by seven points.

But the first half of their away tie against Offaly was woeful – it was 1-1 each, as they hit 15 wides between them.

Though Down haven’t shot the lights out, they are unbeaten. I’m impressed at the way their new manager Conor Laverty is going about his business.


Cavan v Longford

Kingspan Breffni

Longford were magnificent against Louth in the O’Byrne Cup final, but it has been all downhill since.

Pointless, their minus 26 score difference is the worst in the league. Cavan are unbeaten and have the second best points difference in the division of plus 15.


Westmeath v Offaly TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar

Offaly have been a surprise to me. I didn’t expect them to be unbeaten after two rounds.

Westmeath were very poor against Cavan – but were then devastating against Longford, hitting 4-16. They had ten different scorers and won by 19 points.

VERDICT: Westmeath

Division 4

Sligo v Waterford Markievicz Park, 1.0

Last year this was a bizarre game, featuring 60 frees, four red and 13 yellow cards with Sligo beating an 11-man Waterford side by one point.

Waterford were competitive in the first half against Leitrim but very poor against Carlow – eight of their ten points came from frees.

Sligo were atrocious against Laois, but much improved against Wicklow, particularly in the second half, as they scored ten points from 12 shots.


Carlow v Laois, Netwatch Cullen Park

Carlow had a four-point win over Waterford, and they drew with Wicklow despite being reduced to 14 men. Laois look a cut above the rest in this section and look certain of promotion.


Wexford v Leitrim, Chadwicks Wexford Park

Leitrim are unbeaten and top of the table, whereas Wexford have just one point.

Leitrim’s wins came against Waterford and London whereas Wexford lost away to Laois and threw away a point against London.

The home side has a lot of potential. We will get a minor shock today.

VERDICT: Wexford

Today's Headlines

More GAA

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos