SFC previews: Semi-finals in sight for Tribe and Farney

July 20, 2018

A young Monaghan supporter waves his flag during the All-Ireland SFC quarter-final phase 1 clash against Kildare at Croke Park.
©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo.

It's Phase 2 of the Super 8s this weekend and there's plenty on the line as the likes of Donegal, Roscommon, Kildare and Kerry looks to bounce back from opening defeats.


Saturday, July 21st

All-Ireland SFC quarter-final phase 2

Roscommon v Donegal, Dr Hyde Park, 5pm - Sky Sports

After Phase 1 defeats each, this showdown at Dr Hyde Park on Saturday is very much 'do-or-die' for both Roscommon and Donegal.

It'll be the second ever championship meeting between the two counties and one that sees the visitors as relatively strong favourites at 3/10 against a Rossie side which went down to Tyrone by 18 points last time out.

How Kevin McStay picks his team up from that thumping remains to be seen, but what we do know is that the Mayo man has drafted in Sean McDermott into his defence while St Brigid's clubman Brian Stack joins the Connacht finalists' attack, with Niall Daly and Donie Smith the players to miss out from the Red Hands' loss.

Donegal boss Declan Bonner is reporting a clean bill of health, barring of course the luckless Paddy McBrearty, for the trip to 'the Hyde', as defender Paddy McGrath has recovered from the early knock he picked up against Dublin which forced him off midway through his county's defeat at Croke Park.

2008 was the last time these two crossed swords in the championship and on that occasion it was an 18-year-old Michael Murphy's 2-2 contribution that swung the qualifier clash Donegal's way… Don't be surprised if the Tir Chonaill talisman makes the difference again this time round.

Verdict: Donegal

Tyrone v Dublin, Healy Park, 7pm - Sky Sports

Tyrone have lost defender Cathal McCarron to injury for this one but the good news for Mickey Harte is that Colm Cavanagh is fully fit, while National League top scorer Lee Brennan makes his return from the hamstring injury he sustained against Monaghan in May.

The Red Hands couldn't have asked for a better start to the Super 8s last weekend when they drubbed Roscommon by 18 points at Croke Park, but this time the All-Ireland champions are coming to town and it promises to be an electric atmosphere at Healy Park on Saturday evening.

The Dubs haven't lost to Tyrone in the championship in a decade, beating them on three separate occasions, including last year's All-Ireland semi-final which saw Harte's charges fall flat at Croker while their counterparts from the capital eventually went on to claim their third consecutive Sam Maguire success.

Neutrals keeping an eye on this one won't hope to even catch a glimpse of Jim Gavin's side playing 'keep ball' during the late stages in the same manner they did to close out last weekend's five-point win over Donegal.

Home advantage coupled with Tyrone's recent form could possibly even see the tables turned on the holders (wouldn't that be something!) late on, as Harte's men aim to avenge last summer's crushing loss to the Sky Blues on their home turf.

Verdict: Draw


Sunday, July 22nd

All-Ireland SFC quarter-final phase 2

Kildare v Galway, Newbridge, 2pm - RTE

East meets west in Newbridge in Sunday's early throw-in and the stakes are high for the home side as defeat more than likely spells the end of what has been a rollercoaster season.

Kildare haven't played Galway in the championship since 2000 and recent league meetings between the two have gone the way of the Tribesmen, whom scored a six-point win at St Conleth's Park in the league back in March.

The Connacht champions made a dream start to these inaugural Super 8s last Sunday against Kerry and it's a large part of the reason why they're 1/2 favourites this weekend.

Another part of the favourites' tag is that Tribe boss Kevin Walsh has some deadly weapons, namely Shane Walsh and Damien Comer, at his disposal when it comes to his attack.

Kildare will be fighting for their season while Galway feel they have a first All-Ireland semi-final since 2001 in their sights, so it could well develop into a cracker in Newbridge.

Verdict: Galway

Monaghan v Kerry, Clones, 4pm - RTE

Kerry fans will have concerns about last Sunday's display against Galway in Croke Park and know that their team will require a complete turnaround when they arrive in Clones on Sunday.

Firing all summer up this point, the Kingdom managed just 11 scores over the 70 minutes at headquarters last time out and are coming up against a Monaghan outfit which are no doubt desperate to reach the last four, having battled past Kildare in their Super 8s opener.

The Farney men have never beaten Kerry in championship football and there are still a few survivors on both sides from their last summer meeting back in 2008, which saw the Munster kingpins edge a 1-13 to 1-10 win in the qualifiers. The previous year, the Kingdom came from behind in an All-Ireland quarter-final to hand Seamus McEnaney's side a 1-12 to 1-11 defeat before going on to lift their 35th Sam Maguire Cup.

It could well end up being that tight this time round, particularly with the underdogs holding home advantage, as the stakes are as high as they come at this stage for Kerry - if they were to lose this one they could be fulfilling a dead rubber Phase 3 fixture against Kildare the weekend after next.

Led by Conor McManus and Conor McCarthy, Monaghan have some deadly options up front to wreck Eamonn Fitzmaurice's team's season on Sunday while booking their first All-Ireland semi-final berth in 30 long years.

Verdict: Kerry

Follow the hoganstand.com live match tracker this weekend for minute-by-minute coverage of the All-Ireland SFC Super 8 phase 2 games.


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