FL previews: Dubs and Mayo headline at HQ

February 22, 2019

Croke Park will host a Dublin v Mayo mens-ladies league double-header on Saturday evening.

Check out our predictions for Round 4 of the Allianz Football League below…


Saturday, February 23rd

Allianz FL Division 1 round 4

Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, 7pm - eir sport 1

Saturday night sees these two crossing swords at Croke Park for the first time since the 2017 All-Ireland SFC final.

While Mayo fans won’t have fond memories of that day, they will have been delighted with how their team has started this league campaign having gained maximum points from their first three games.

Manager James Horan has opted for six changes to his side from the Round 3 victory over Cavan in Castlebar, bringing in experienced defenders Brendan Harrison, Colm Boyle and Donal Vaughan to try and nullify the Dubs’ deadly attack.

Jim Gavin is likely to wait until tomorrow afternoon to reveal his line-up and the holders know they’re in need of points fast if they are to retain their title.

When it’s the case of this Dublin side needing a win they usually do exactly that and it’s what gets them the nod here to halt Mayo’s fine early run of form.

Verdict: Dublin

Tyrone v Monaghan, Healy Park, 7pm - eir sport 2

This derby is Omagh bound on Saturday night with points becoming more and more precious for both of these sides.

Monaghan have lost their last two outings since shocking Dublin in Round 1, while Tyrone are still awaiting their first win.

It took heroics from ‘keeper Niall Morgan to snatch a draw for the Red Hands against Roscommon last time out and they’ll need more of the same of what they produced in the second-half that day at Dr Hyde Park here.

Liam Rafferty has been drafted into defence by Harte, while Richie Donnelly and Frank Burns also come in for what is sure to be another tight contest between these two familiar rivals.

Verdict: Tyrone

Allianz FL Division 2 round 4

Cork v Meath, Pairc Ui Rinn, 7pm

Meath lead Division 2 after three rounds and a win here would see a giant stride towards promotion taken by Andy McEntee’s charges.

The Royals are coming up against a seemingly out of sorts Cork outfit but let’s not forget that the Rebels triumphed in this fixture last year and are just about as unpredictable as any side in the country.

Ronan McCarthy will be boosted by the fact that he has Sean Powter back available following the Douglas man’s year-long injury lay-off, but still looks like having too many kinks to iron out in this side to gain a first win of the campaign here.

Verdict: Meath

Allianz FL Division 4 round 4

Limerick v Leitrim, Kilmallock, 3pm

The early throw-in on Saturday sees Leitrim looking to continue their promotion push and Terry Hyland’s men are likely to be pushed to the limit again at Fitzgerald Park.

Verdict: Leitrim

Sunday, February 24th

Allianz FL Division 1 round 4

Galway v Kerry, Tuam Stadium, 2pm - TG4 (deferred coverage)

Last summer’s Super 8s clash between these two was no spectacle and the purists will be hoping the shackles come off in Tuam on Sunday afternoon.

Kerry are leading the way alongside Mayo in this division so far and it’s their young marksman Sean O’Shea that’s been grabbing the headlines, with his latest feat being a Sigerson Cup success with UCC in mid-week.

Galway will know they can’t afford the Kenmare sharpshooter cheap frees but it could just be where the problems start for the Tribesmen if they lapse against a potentially deadly Kingdom attack.

Kevin Walsh’s men beat the Munster champions in this fixture last year – and in the Super 8s too, by the way. On both occasions the margin was a mere goal and it could well be that tight between these two once again this weekend.

Verdict: Kerry

Cavan v Roscommon, Kingspan Breffni, 2.30pm

This is a crucial clash for both these sides but more so for Cavan as defeat would all but spell relegation back down to Division 2 for a second time in three seasons.

With Mickey Graham’s fairytale with the mighty Mullinalaghta now at an end, the Cavan boss has a sole focus which starts with trying to get the Breffni men to buck the trend of recent years and finish on the right side of the score-line against the Rossies after 70 minutes.

The Connacht side have no doubt held the Indian sign over the Blues this past half decade or so and even triumphed over them in last year’s Division 2 final for good measure in spite of shipping four goals.

Another win here would see Anthony Cunningham’s men almost certainly guaranteeing their safety, but they're sure to be made earn it against the hosts on Sunday.

Verdict: Draw

Allianz FL Division 2 round 4

Armagh v Tipperary, Athletic Grounds, 2pm

Tipp tore up the script last time out and stunned Donegal with a late flourish in Thurles and will look to put more Ulster opposition to the sword this weekend.

Armagh will have been disappointed with the early aspects of their play against Meath in Round 3 which cost them dearly on the day and you can be sure that Kieran McGeeney will have designs for his charges to hit the ground running on Sunday.

Jamie Clarke returns from suspension for the Orchard men, along with home advantage, helps them to get the slight nod for this one.

Verdict: Armagh

Donegal v Fermanagh, Letterkenny, 2pm

This derby hits Letterkenny in a repeat of last summer’s Ulster final which, truth be told, was more one-sided than Fermanagh supporters will want to recall.

Rory Gallagher and his players will need no reminding of that occasion as they travel for this one as 4/1 underdogs and there’ll be a few to fancy that price given the contingent that Donegal are presently missing (not to mention Fermanagh’s recent upset of Kildare).

Home advantage has undoubtedly helped pave the way to points for these two so far and the Tir Chonaill men should manage to keep it to script here.

Verdict: Donegal

Kildare v Clare, Newbridge, 2pm

If Kildare are looking to bounce back from their surprise loss to Fermanagh in Round 3 than a hosting of Clare this weekend might just present them with the perfect test.

The Banner men are coming off a seven-point win over Cork and, needless to say, will hold no fears when they arrive at Newbridge to battle against a side below them on score difference.

Defeat here and the Lilywhites can forget about promotion until next season and, if things really go south, it could be promotion from Division 3 they’d be aiming for at the start of 2020.

However, we’re expecting Cian O’Neill’s men to get the job done at St Conleth’s Park.

Verdict: Kildare

Allianz FL Division 3 round 4

Longford v Down, Pearse Park, 2pm

Longford will be gradually welcoming back their Mullinalaghta stars over the next couple of weeks and it should boost things further as the Midlanders bid for promotion to Division 2.

Paddy Tally’s Down side stand in their way on Sunday and it has all the makings of an intriguing battle at Pearse Park, as the Mourne men look to leapfrog their opponents towards the top of the table.

Verdict: Longford

Louth v Sligo, Gaelic Grounds, 2.30pm

It has been tough going for Paul Taylor’s Sligo side so for as they sit pointless at the bottom of the table three games in.

Louth have been the surprise package in Division 3 after their upset of Laois in Round 2 and are fancied to pick up two more points in their promotion bid here.

Verdict: Louth

Westmeath v Laois, TEG Cusack Park, 2.30pm

This Leinster derby comes to Mullingar on Sunday and could well end up being crucial in who has the say for promotion when all’s said and done.

Westmeath have John Heslin and Kevin Maguire back in their squad and both are expected to see minutes against Laois this weekend.

The O’Moore men brought back some aces of their own in the form Donie Kingston and Colm Begley to their starting line-up in the win over Sligo, but undoubtedly face a much tougher test in visiting TEG Cusack Park.

Verdict: Westmeath

Offaly v Carlow, O'Connor Park, 3pm

Carlow got inflicted with their first defeat of the campaign against Longford in Round 3 and are slight favourites to bounce back against Offaly this weekend.

The Faithful men are in sore need of a win after going down by a thin margin to Louth last time out and are sure to give the Barrowsiders their fill of it on home turf.

Verdict: Carlow

Allianz FL Division 4 round 4

Antrim v London, Corrigan Park, 1pm

Antrim are without a win after three rounds but look like breaking their duck here when the Exiles pay a visit to west Belfast.

Verdict: Antrim

Derry v Wicklow, Watty Graham Park, 2pm

Derry’s results have gone according to plan so far and they’ll be hotly fancied to take another stride towards promotion when the Garden men come to Maghera.

Verdict: Derry

Wexford v Waterford, Innovate Wexford Park, 2pm

Wexford were upset by London the weekend before last and are sure to be eager to bounce back when they welcome their struggling neighbours on Sunday.

Verdict: Wexford

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