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big guns clash Your complete guide to a hectic weekend of GAA action as Dubs take on old rivals Kerry


Joe Canning has set a new record for senior appearances with Galway hurlers

Joe Canning has set a new record for senior appearances with Galway hurlers

Joe Canning has set a new record for senior appearances with Galway hurlers

Allianz FL Division 1 North round 2
Donegal v Monaghan, MacCumhaill Park,

5.0, RTÉ/eir Sport

TALKING POINT: LAST week’s blotchy performance in Enniskillen suggested Monaghan need Conor McManus, Darren Hughes, Kieran Hughes, Drew Wylie and Colin Walshe – none of whom started against Armagh – back quickly to survive a brutal league programme.

ODDS: Donegal 3/10, Draw 9/1, Monaghan 10/3

VERDICT: Donegal

Armagh v Tyrone, Athletic Grounds, 7.0, eir Sport

TALKING POINT: For Tyrone, defeat last week came with the solace of Paul Donaghy in 10 points, including four from play, against Donegal. For Armagh, getting off the mark in their first game in Division 1 in a decade was essential and the calculated manner in which they did it will have satisfied Kieran McGeeney.

ODDS: Armagh 9/4, Draw 15/2, Tyrone 1/2


FL Division 2 North round 2
Westmeath v Mayo, TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar, 3.0, eir Sport

TALKING POINT: Even allowing for Down’s inability to compete physically with Mayo last week in Castlebar, Tommy Conroy’s display was eye-catching, as much for the aggression of his running and bulked-up physique, as his scoring of 1-3.

ODDS: Westmeath 6/1, Draw 14/1, Mayo 1/8

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FL Division 2 South round 2
Laois v Cork, MW Hire O’Moore Park, 7.0, GAAGO

TALKING POINT: The return of 2010 All-Ireland winner Ciarán Sheehan and Luke Connolly will add presence and energy to the Cork inside attack line, although Brian Hartnett will now miss two games after his sending off against Kildare.

ODDS: Laois 5/1, Draw 14/1, Cork 1/7


FL Division 3 North round 2
Derry v Fermanagh, Owenbeg, 5.0, GAAGO

TALKING POINT: A clash of two surprisingly in-form teams; Derry went to Longford last week and won by 16 points, with midfielder Conor Glass and Emmett Bradley exceptional, while Fermanagh beat the reigning Ulster champions.

ODDS: Derry 2/5, Draw 15/2, Fermanagh 5/2


Cavan v Longford, Kingspan Breffni, 7.0, GAAGO

TALKING POINT: Cavan failed to create a single goal-scoring opportunity last week against a well-organised, finely-honed Fermanagh defensive unit. James Smith will be available, however, after having his one-game ban overturned by the CHC.

ODDS: Cavan 2/11, Draw 11/1, Longford 9/2


FL Division 3 South round 2
Offaly v Limerick, Bord Na Mona O’Connor Park, 3.0, GAAGO

TALKING POINT: Shane Horan and Cian Donohoe come into the Offaly team in place of Colm Doyle and Joe Maher.

ODDS: Offaly 4/7, Draw 15/2, Limerick 7/4


Tipperary v Wicklow, Semple Stadium, 4.30, GAAGO

TALKING POINT: Tipp’s surprise defeat to Limerick last week opens up a possible promotion play-off spot, despite Wicklow’s opening loss to Offaly.

ODDS: Tipperary 1/5, Draw 11/1, Wicklow 4/1

VERDICT: Tipperary

FL Division 4 South round 2
Wexford v Waterford, Chadwicks Wexford Park, 3.0, GAAGO

TALKING POINT: A 15-point home defeat to Carlow last week doesn’t suggest Waterford will have much joy in Wexford Park.

ODDS: Wexford 1/8, Draw 14/1, Waterford 11/2

VERDICT: Wexford

Allianz HL Division 1 Group A round 3
Tipperary v Galway, Semple Stadium, 1.30, TG4

TALKING POINT: Joe Canning’s substitute cameo against Limerick last week broke the all-time appearance record for Galway, taking him past Portumna team-mate Damien Hayes, having represented his county 112 times. He starts here in one of nine changes to the Galway side, an impressive display of strength after such a victory.

ODDS: Tipperary 6/4, Draw 14/1, Galway 11/13


Allianz HL Division 1 Group B round 3
Dublin v Antrim, Parnell Park, 5.0, GAAGO

TALKING POINT: Last week’s defeat in Nowlan Park was Antrim’s first loss in 12 games and their volley of 2-4 just after half-time demonstrated they weren’t about to relinquish it with a fight.

ODDS: Dublin 1/7, Draw 14/1, Antrim 6/1


HL Division 3A round 2
Longford v Tyrone, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, 2.0


Sligo v Armagh, Markievicz Park, 2.0


Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League Division 1
Clare v Limerick; Fr McNamara Park, Ennis 4.0

TALKING POINT: A battling four-point defeat to All-Ireland finalists Galway last week was further sign of Clare’s recent improvement.

VERDICT: Limerick

Tipperary v Waterford, Clonmel Commercials, 2.0

TALKING POINT: Cáit Devane was in sparkling form for Tipp last week, through the concession of goals scuppered them against Cork.

VERDICT: Tipperary

Dublin v Offaly, TBC, 2.30

TALKING POINT: After Adrian O’Sullivan’s baptism of fire last week in Kilkenny, Dublin should pick up a first victory of 2021 here.


Division 2 (2.0)

Down v Derry, Castlewellan

Galway v Tipperary, Kenny Park

Cork v Kerry, Cork Camogie Grounds
Kilkenny v Laois, Jone Lockes Callan
Kildare v Dublin, Hawkfield

Westmeath v Meath, Kinnegad

Division 3

Wexford v Down, Bellefield, 2.0
Carlow v Limerick, Dr Cullen Park, 2.0

Clare v Waterford, Fr McNamara Park, 1.0

Division 4 (2.0)

Wicklow v Tyrone, Arklow

Antrim v Cavan, TBC
Mayo v Kildare, Toreen

Louth v Roscommon, Darver

Lidl Ladies NFL Division 1A

Mayo v Galway, 7.30, Elverys MacHale Park, TG4

TALKING POINT: Fiona McHale has been selected to play at midfield for Mayo, three years after her last game due to the fall-out between former manager Peter Leahy and her club, Carnacon.

ODDS: Mayo Evens, Draw 9/1, Galway 10/11



Allianz FL Division 1 South round 2
Dublin v Kerry, Semple Stadium, 1.45, TG4

TALKING POINT: Mick Fitzsimons looks the likeliest candidate to try and shackle the gifted and in-form David Clifford but of arguably greater importance to the result here is which of the Kerry backs takes on the task of shackling Con O’Callaghan, Ciarán Kilkenny and Cormac Costello, forwards the Kingdom have struggled to contain en masse in recent meetings.

ODDS: Dublin 10/11, Draw 15/2, Kerry 6/5


Galway v Roscommon, Pearse Stadium, 2.0, GAAGO

TALKING POINT: There’s a distinct whiff of desperation off this one, with relegation firmly on the cards for whoever loses after humbling opening fixtures for both teams and difficult matches still to come.

ODDS: Galway 8/13, Draw 15/2, Roscommon 7/4


FL Division 2 North round 2
Down v Meath, Athletic Grounds, 3.45, GAAGO

TALKING POINT: The scale of the win might not have suggested much to get excited about but Meath had 12 different scorers against Westmeath last Sunday and came back from four points down to win with a late power play.

ODDS: Down 7/4, Draw 15/2, Meath 4/7


FL Division 2 South round 2
Kildare v Clare, St. Conleth’s Park, 2.0, GAAGO

TALKING POINT: Despite the concession of the last five points of the game to a 14-man Cork team in Thurles last week, Kildare’s winning start to 2021 was never really in question. Of even greater surprise was Clare’s seven-point victory over Laois.

ODDS: Kildare 3/10, Draw 9/1, Clare 3/1

VERDICT: Kildare

FL Division 4 North round 2
Leitrim v Louth, Avantcard Páirc Seán MacDiarmada, 3.0, GAAGO

TALKING POINT: Scoring three goals will have pleased Mickey Harte, despite last week’s loss to Antrim, though their shot selection and wide count is an obvious area for improvement.

ODDS: Leitrim 7/4, Draw 8/1, Louth 4/7


Antrim v Sligo, Corrigan Park, 4.0, GAAGO

TALKING POINT: Enda McGinley squares off against Tony McEntee in the latest noughties Ulster icons clash in Division 4 North. Both Antrim and Sligo won last week and another victory here would open promotion up as a realistic possibility.

ODDS: Antrim 8/13, Draw 8/1, Sligo 13/8


Allianz HL Division 1 Group A round 3
Cork v Westmeath, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 3.0, GAAGO

TALKING POINT: Westmeath’s Cormac Boyle will serve a one-match ban here after the CHC found the infraction – “behaving in any way which is dangerous to an opponent” during last week’s loss to Waterford proven and imposed a suspension.

ODDS: Cork 1/100, Draw 50/1, Westmeath 33/1


Waterford v Limerick, Walsh Park, 3.45, TG4

TALKING POINT: A slow start to 2021 was probably inevitable for Waterford but three points was probably a bit too close for comfort against Westmeath last week. Diarmaid Byrnes misses out for Limerick, serving a one-game ban.

ODDS: Waterford 5/2, Draw 18/1, Limerick 2/5

VERDICT: Limerick

HL Division 1 Group B round 3
Kilkenny v Wexford, UPC Nowlan Park, 2.0, TG4 Player

TALKING POINT: Victory in Ennis was a welcome fillip for Wexford but confirmation that two players from Davy Fitzgerald’s squad tested positive for Covid-19 this week will have been both a distraction and disruption. For Kilkenny, TJ Reid is expected back after being rested last week against Antrim.

ODDS: Kilkenny 4/7, Draw 11/1, Wexford 9/4

VERDICT: Kilkenny

Laois v Clare, MW Hire O’Moore Park, 3.0, GAAGO

TALKING POINT: With a trip to Parnell Park still to come, Clare’s difficult start to 2021 could turn into a mini crisis unless they start to win games. They looked likely winners last week until Wexford’s late surge.

ODDS: Laois 8/1, Draw 22/1, Clare 1/12


NHL Division 2A round 3
Kerry v Meath, Austin Stack Park, 1.0

TALKING POINT: Kerry’s 21-point annihilation at the hands of Offaly last week was easily the shock of the first round of Division 2A, albeit they were without 10 players from last year’s Joe McDonagh squad and had to play with their third-choice full-back, with Bryan Murphy (broken wrist) and Tomás O’Connor (ankle) currently missing.

ODDS: Kerry 1/5, Draw 11/1, Meath 4/1


Carlow v Offaly, Netwatch Cullen Park, 2.0

TALKING POINT: The CHC have deemed James Doyle’s infraction of ‘striking with a hurley, with minimal force’ proven from last week’s game against Down in Ballycran and he’ll sit this one out for Carlow.

ODDS: Carlow 11/4, Draw 10/1, Offaly 4/9


Wicklow v Down, Aughrim, 2.0

TALKING POINT: Ronan Sheehan’s Down side recorded a hugely-unexpected two-point win over Carlow last week.

ODDS: Wicklow 11/4, Draw 10/1, Down 2/5


HL Division 2B round 2
Donegal v Mayo, O’Donnell Park, 2.0

TALKING POINT: Two from two so far in Division 2B for Mayo, who should continue that run here.

ODDS: Donegal 10/3, Draw 11/1, Mayo 1/4


Kildare v Derry, Manguard Plus Hawkfield, 4.0

TALKING POINT: Kildare’s attack were finely honed in a 27-point win over Donegal in round one.

ODDS: Kildare 4/9, Draw 10/1, Derry 2/1

VERDICT: Kildare

Allianz HL Division 3B round 2
Louth v Cavan, Darver, 2.0


Fermanagh v Leitrim, Brewster Park, 2.0

VERDICT: Leitrim

Lidl Ladies NFL
Division 1A

Donegal v Westmeath, Ballybofey, 1.0

TALKING POINT: Only that freak Sineád Aherne goal on Halloween last year separated Donegal from Dublin in the opening round of the championship and they are a building force in ladies football.

VERDICT: Donegal

Dublin v Waterford, Parnell Park, 2.0

TALKING POINT: Seven of last starting line-up from the 2020 All-Ireland final are included here for Dublin, including long-serving stars Siobhan McGrath and captain Sineád Aherne.


Division 2A

Clare v Wexford, Cusack Park, 2.0,

Meath v Kerry Páirc Tailteann, 3.0

Division 2B

Monaghan v Cavan, St Tiarnach’s Park, 12.0
Tyrone v Armagh, Healy Park, 2.0

Division 3A

Roscommon v Fermanagh, Dr Hyde Park, 2.0

Down v Sligo, Teconnaught, 3.0

Division 3B

Longford v Wicklow, Pearse Park, 2.0

Laois v Kildare, O’Moore Park, 5.30

Division 4A (2.0)

Leitrim v Louth, Ballinamore

Derry v Antrim, Celtic Park

Division 4B

Carlow v Offaly, Carlow IT, 2.0

By the numbers

5 – The number of clean sheets Limerick have now kept in succession. No one has hit Limerick’s net since John McGrath scored Tipperary’s second goal of the Munster semi-final on November 1 last year.

2- Irish rugby internationals named in panels for this weekend’s opening round of the Ladies NFL. Louise Galvin, who retired last year from the Women’s sevens circuit, will start for Kerry, while Hannah Tyrrell is on the bench for Dublin.

112 – Joe Canning’s total of league and championship appearances as of last Sunday, one more than Portumna team-mate Damien Hayes and a new Galway record.

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