SFC previews: Dubs and Red Hands look to repeat the trick
14 July 2017
Sean Cavanagh's Tyrone and Stephen Cluxton's Dublin are tipped to retain their respective provincial crowns on Sunday.
Here are our previews for the four games taking place in the All-Ireland senior football championship this weekend, including Sunday’s Ulster and Leinster finals.
Saturday, July 15th
All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers Round 3B
Tipperary v Armagh, Semple Stadium, 5pm – SKY
Neutrals will be hoping this one produces the same sort of quality which saw an epic finish between these two when they met in the final round of the National League.
It was Michael Quinlivan’s late, late goal which saw Tipperary promoted to Division 2 instead of Armagh back in early April and that loss will no doubt be fresh in the minds of Kieran McGeeney’s men when they journey to Thurles on Saturday.
Tipp produced the second-half goods against Cavan last weekend at Kingspan Breffni, where Quinlivan and Philip Austin shook off injuries to come off the bench and help them over the line and those two will be expected to gain more minutes against the Orchard County this weekend.
Liam Kearns has been short-handed all summer but his team still remain in the hunt for back-to-back quarter-final places and are slightly fancied with bookmakers to extend their run past their Ulster counterparts.
Having scrapped through a war with Westmeath in round two down in Mullingar, where they lost talisman Jamie Clarke to a black card early on, Armagh will be looking for further improvement and they might just get it against the Premier men.
Carlow v Monaghan, Netwatch Dr Cullen Park, 7pm – SKY
Monaghan return to the sunny south east on Saturday bidding to bring the curtain down on what has been a memorable season so far for Turlough O’Brien’s Carlow side.
The Farney men cruised past Wexford in an afternoon to forget for Seamus McEnaney last Saturday and they’re hot favourites at 1/16 for their second qualifier win inside a week against the Barrowsiders.
The hosts will regain the services of talisman Brendan Murphy this weekend, with the Rathvilly man having missed last weekend’s victory over Leitrim through suspension, and they’ll need him and Paul Broderick on form early on in order to keep the heat on Malachy O’Rourke’s men.
Conor McManus’s black card last weekend saw him having an early afternoon at Innovative Wexford Park but plenty others stepped up to the plate in the Clontibret star’s absence, particularly in the second-half.
Fourteen different players combined for Monaghan’s 3-23 total against the Slayneysiders and if anything to that kind of form is carried through again this weekend then the Ulster men will be one game away from a return to the last eight of the All-Ireland series.
Sunday, July 16th
Ulster SFC final
Down v Tyrone, Clones, 2pm - RTE/BBC
The last time these two counties met in the Ulster SFC final Tyrone went on to claim their first ever All-Ireland title and there are plenty that fancy Mickey Harte’s men to produce a shock to the system again this summer.
First and foremost however is the matter of their Anglo-Celt Cup defence on Sunday when they arrive at Clones to take on a Down side which bookmakers have cast as 5/1 outsiders for an upset.
The Red Hands have dismantled Derry and Donegal to get here while their opponents were made come through genuine battles against Armagh and Monaghan, with the latter win particularly eye-catching, and a win for Eamonn Burns’ charges would see them landing their county’s first provincial title in 23 years.
The odds are stacked against the Mourne men this weekend though and while they were impressive in shackling Monaghan’s front men the last day, it seems like the holders have more ways to cause them damage all across the pitch.
It’s likely to be Sean Cavanagh last Ulster final and Down will have no issues with spoiling the Moy man’s chances of a sixth provincial medal should the opportunity arise for them on Sunday.
Leinster SFC final
Dublin v Kildare, Croke Park, 4pm – RTE
Sunday sees Dublin bidding for more history by becoming the first county to win the Leinster senior football championship title for the seventh successive year.
Kildare stand in the All-Ireland champions’ way this weekend and despite convincing wins over Laois and Meath so far this summer, the Lilywhites are 9/1 outsiders for their first provincial crown in 17 years.
When these two last met in the Leinster championship in 2015 Kildare were inflicted with a crushing 19-point defeat, but Cian O’Neill has his players in a much better place two years on and 2017 has gone fairly according to script thus far.
Promotion to Division 1 in the league was backed up with a 14-point win against Laois and then a comfortable victory over Meath in Tullamore. To hit the ground running against a side which had 31 points to spare over Westmeath in their last outing will no doubt be a priority on Sunday.
The Dubs are 1/14 for Delaney Cup no. 56 but they’re sure to be in for their toughest test of the summer to retain it for the sixth time in a row, assuming O’Neill’s men live up to their potential.