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Pat Spillane's verdict on this weekend's GAA clashes

The GAA season is moving through the gears and here is Pat Spillane's verdict on this weekend's game
Cavan’s Mickey Graham, Westmeath’s Jack Cooney, Offaly’s John Maughan and Sligo’s Tony McEntee. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Cavan’s Mickey Graham, Westmeath’s Jack Cooney, Offaly’s John Maughan and Sligo’s Tony McEntee. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Pat Spillane

The GAA season is moving through the gears and here is Pat Spillane's verdict on this weekend's games:

Cavan v Sligo, Croke Park. 1.45 RTE 2

It is not surprising that Cavan are raging hot favourites for this.

They contested an All-Ireland semi-final two years ago and chalked up big wins over Down and Fermanagh in earlier rounds.

Their 2020 All Star Thomas Galligan is in outstanding form while up front Paddy Lynch (below) was been a revelation.

Sligo have recorded more than 40 wides in the competition so far.

But on a positive note they showed great spirit in coming from two points behind against London to force extra-time and then beat Leitrim in a penalty shoot-out.

They can shoot straight – I saw them kicking 28 points and not record a single wide against Carlow in the League.

I also saw them lose to Cavan in the competition. However, with 20 minutes to go they were two points up, but they lost David Quinn to a red card and Sean Carrabine to a black which cost them dearly.

Cavan ought to advance but the game will be a lot closer than anticipated.

VERDICT: Cavan

Offaly v Westmeath, Croke Park, 4.0 RTE 2

This is the ‘get out of jail’ competition for both counties whose seasons to date have been underwhelming.

Despite all the hype around the financial support from Shane Lowry, the arrival of Tomas Ó Sé as coach and their victory in the U-20 Championship last year Offaly were still relegated from Division 2 and then lost to Wexford in the Leinster Championship.

They have built a bit of momentum again in the Tailteann, however, beating Wexford, Wicklow and New York and veteran Niall McNamee (inset) is on fire.

Westmeath never got going in Division 3 in the League but showed glimpses of returning to form against Kildare in the Leinster semi-final when they scored 2-15.

Unlike Offaly they have had competitive games in the competition; a three-point win over Laois and a five-point victory over Carlow. Though normally I tip the team that played in the higher division in the Allianz League, I believe Westmeath have a better-balanced side.

VERDICT: Westmeath


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