Pat Spillane’s predictions for all Sunday’s Allianz League games
(All at 2.0 unless stated)
Allianz Football League
Donegal v Galway,
Letterkenny, 12.30. Live TG4
What’s gone so wrong in Donegal GAA? They struggled to find a successor to Declan Bonner, all their academy coaches and staff resigned recently, and their footballers are bottom of Division 1.
The absence of captain Patrick McBrearty doesn’t explain why they were so poor in the second half against Monaghan. Their normally reliable defence coughed up 1-14 after the break.
When Galway’s backs were to the wall in the second half against Tyrone Padraic Joyce got the top-notch response he wanted.
Monaghan v Roscommon
The return of Darren Hughes and Jack McCarville, together with the contributions off the bench of Conor McManus and Sean Jones, had a transformative impact on Monaghan’s performance against Donegal. They could yet survive in the top flight.
Roscommon are the form team with three wins on the spin. Their second-half performances have been outstanding. I like the kicking style of the Murtagh and Smith brothers. I haven’t tipped them to win once this season and I’m not going to change now.
Kildare v Derry
Newbridge, BBC iPlayer
With 20 minutes to go against Clare I was composing Kildare’s obituary. Down to 14 men and five points behind, they staged a stunning comeback to win by a point in what is usually an unforgiving venue for away teams.
The character they showed was exemplary, though it was the contribution of substitutes Neil Flynn and Daniel Flynn, who scored 0-6 between them, which turned the tide.
Derry’s performance against Meath was outstanding – it was an 11-point hammering.
Their conditioning, work rate and defensive system were first rate as always, but their kicking game has improved, and they are now keeping three players up front most of the time.
Meath v Louth
Pairc Tailteann Navan
The wheels came off the Meath wagon against Derry in spectacular style. Their kicking game worked against Cork because the ball was being directed into the open spaces vacated by the Cork defenders who had gone forward.
Derry have a much more advanced defensive system and Meath were repeatedly turned over in possession. In the first half they had just five shots on goal and went 32 minutes without scoring.
They will face another blanket defence today, but Louth only stumbled across the line against Limerick, the worst team in the division, last Sunday.
Cork v Limerick,
Pairc Ui Chaoimh, 3.45
Limerick produced their best performance of the campaign so far but still lost by two points to Louth. Pointless, they now look certainties for relegation.
There was a lot to admire about Cork’s performance against Dublin. They’re very fit; Kevin Walsh’s imprint is all over them and they didn’t concede a goal. Finally, they have started to kick the ball – which enables Brian Hurley to flourish.
Offaly v Cavan
Cavan are the only unbeaten side in the division and their +26 score difference underlines how dominant they have been.
Offaly did well to win their first two games, but I imagine it is their forthcoming ties against struggling Longford and Tipperary that they are really targeting for more points.
Longford v Tipperary,
Pearse Park, Longford
Both are rooted to the foot of the table and a loss today will almost certainly mean relegation. I can’t figure out Longford – who were so impressive in the O’Byrne Cup final. Their scoring difference of -37 is the worst in the League.
One has to have sympathy for Tipperary manager David Power.
Between injuries, retirements and players not making themselves available, he is missing two thirds of his first team.
Leitrim v Carlow
Leitrim surrendered their 100 per cent record against Wexford, but heaven help them if their main man Keith Beirne ever has a bad day, as he hit 11 points of the 0-15 total.
Carlow were more than competitive against Laois, leading by five points at one stage. It’s a huge match as the losers will be out of the promotion race.
London v Sligo
London were really good in their first two matches. But they were poor against Wicklow. Sligo were very good against Wicklow and can win again here.
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