SFC previews: 'Newbridge-gate' set for conclusion

June 29, 2018

St Conleth's Park, Newbridge will open its gates on Saturday for the All-Ireland SFC qualifiers round 3 clash between Kildare and Mayo.
©INPHO/John McVitty.

It's Round 3 of the All-Ireland senior football championship qualifiers on Saturday and here we preview all four clashes taking place.


Saturday, June 30th

All-Ireland SFC qualifiers round 3

Leitrim v Monaghan, Pairc Sean MacDiarmada, 2.30pm

The early throw-in is in Carrick-on-Shannon on Saturday afternoon as Leitrim look to defy the odds by bringing down the curtain on Monaghan's season.

Brendan Guckian's side can be got at 16/1 to pull off the shock against a Farney outfit which delivered an empathic 27-point hammering of Waterford in Dungarvan last weekend.

While some might feel that the qualifier draw has been kind to Malachy O'Rourke's men so far this summer, you can be sure they won't be taking Leitrim lightly having been upset a couple of times at this juncture in the past.

Leitrim have two wins and a defeat to their name since the start of May, with their latest result being an impressive 10-point victory over Louth, but they'll likely struggle to handle Monaghan's deadly firepower this weekend.

Verdict: Monaghan

Armagh v Clare, Athletic Grounds, 3pm

Clare boss Colm Collins has publicly stated his disappointment over the choice of venue for this one, with Armagh entitled to home advantage by virtue of their Division 3 status before earning promotion in the spring.

Nonetheless, these two are set to meet for the first time ever in the championship and it could well be a cracker with the Orchard men looking to reach Round 4 of the qualifiers for the second successive year.

Kieran McGeeney's side came through a battle with Sligo last weekend, but with home advantage in their corner this time round, they're fancied to be in the hat again come Monday morning.

The Banner men certainly possess the ingredients for an upset though and it could well happen if their northern counterparts fail to tie down the threat of Jamie Malone and Eoin Cleary from the start on Saturday.

Verdict: Armagh

Cavan v Tyrone, Brewster Park, 5pm - Sky Sports

The latest twist in this tie has seen Cavan captain Dara McVeety and centre-back Conor Moynagh cleared to line-out against Mickey Harte's Tyrone side in Enniskillen (not Croke Park) on Saturday evening.

The pair were set to be suspended after picking up red cards following the final whistle against Down at Brewster Park last weekend but were successful in their appeals to the CHC on Thursday night.

That certainly changes the complexion of this one from a Breffni perspective, with McVeety their best performer all season long, but you can expect that Tyrone will be keen to get on with it and go about their business once both teams cross the white line come 5.00pm.

Cavan haven't beaten the Red Hands in championship competition since 1983 and while the latter are set to be without injured forward pair Lee Brennan and Mark Bradley once more, they should edge a close one here.

Verdict: Tyrone

Kildare v Mayo, St Conleth's Park, 7pm - Sky Sports

The build-up to this one has been the story of the summer so far, with Kildare earning their right to stage this game in Newbridge after it had been fixed for Croke Park by the CCCC on Monday afternoon.

'Newbridge or nowhere' quickly became the mantra for those in the Lilywhites' corner and now all eyes will be on St Conleth's Park come 7.00pm on Saturday evening, as Cian O'Neill's men look to bring an end to Mayo's season.

Last year's beaten All-Ireland finalists are bidding to reach Round 4 of the qualifiers for the third successive year and are 4/9 favourites to do so when all's said and done this weekend.

On their last visit to Newbridge back in March, Stephen Rochford's team were relatively comfortable in a 1-19 to 1-12 victory over the hosts but you get the feeling it's set to be a tighter affair this time round.

Extra time wouldn't be out of the question for this one and, in the end, it could be the depth of talent within Rochford's squad that makes the telling difference.

Verdict: Mayo

Don't miss a minute of this weekend's action on our match tracker where we will be providing live updates from the All-Ireland SFC qualifiers, Munster SHC, Leinster SHC and Joe McDonagh Cup finals.

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