close calls | 

Pat Spillane’s verdicts on Sunday’s crunch GAA clashes

Kildare and Down set to be the big winners on a super Sunday

30 April 2023; Daniel Flynn of Kildare during the Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi Final match between Dublin and Kildare at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

All-Ireland SFC, Group 3

Sligo v Kildare,

Markievicz Park , 2.30pm

REMARKABLY, this is the only fixture in the All-Ireland series being played today. What a shambles of fixture planning.

Sligo are in bonus territory now, having secured promotion from Division Four and reached the Connacht Final too.

Playing for the Sam Maguire Cup is the cherry on their cake.

For 25 minutes in the Connacht decider, Sligo kept Galway honest.

But then they conceded two soft goals from silly turnovers, and that was that.

You would expect Kildare to win this handily, given that they ran Dublin to two points last month.

Given the talent at their disposal, they have been one of the biggest under-achievers of the last few years.

Remember they won the Under-20 All-Ireland five years ago. Where are all those good players gone?

Not enough of them seem to be coming through to senior.

The Lilies will win today, but it may be much closer than some people expect.

Verdict: Kildare

Tailteann Cup, Group 4, Round 2

Tipperary v Down

Thurles, 1.45pm

Given that this game is the curtain raiser to Tipperary-Limerick in the hurling, as the game nears its end, these players will surely be performing in front of the biggest crowd ever to see a Tailteann Cup match.

I just can’t make a case for Tipp at all, their last two matches have ended in 20-point and 11-point losses.

Most of the team and panel that won a famous Munster title in November 2020 are now abroad, injured or retired.

Conor Laverty has steadied the Down football ship this season, being unlucky not to get out of Division Three of the League, missing out on promotion by scoring difference.

Down began with a handy 11-point win over Waterford last week and I expect them to reach the Tailteann Cup semi-finals, at least, this season.

Their journey won’t hit a road bump today.


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