FL previews: Dubs chasing history in Tralee

March 17, 2017

Round Five of the Allianz Football Leagues takes place this bank holiday weekend and here we preview all 16 games down for decision.
 

Saturday, March 18th

Allianz FL Division 1 round 5

Donegal v Tyrone, Ballybofey, 7pm - eir Sport

These two rivals are fancied to meet again in the Ulster SFC semi-finals in June but for now they'll go to battle on Saturday night in what should be a fascinating clash in Ballybofey.

Mickey Harte's side lead the way in Division 1 after four rounds and the Tir Chonaill men aren't all that far behind them with two wins, a draw and a defeat.

Both sides had comfortable wins over Cavan in their previous outings, but it's Tyrone unbeaten league record thus far that sees them head for MacCumhaill Park as 4/5 favourites.

Interestingly, both these teams have also drawn with Dublin, albeit in different fashions, and the evidence suggests that there won't be much to separate them - perhaps in a similar manner to last year Ulster's final when the Red Hands dug deeper than their opponents late on.

Verdict: Tyrone

Kerry v Dublin, Austin Stack Park, 7pm - eir Sport

The old epic rivalry comes to Tralee this weekend with Dublin bidding to equal the unbeaten record - between league and championship - of the Kerry side which won four successive All-Ireland titles from 1929 and 1932. 

Needless to say, there's going to be plenty on the line at Austin Stack Park, which has been sold out a month in advance, as the hosts look for their first win over the all-conquering All-Ireland champions in two long years.

The league form thus far for Eamonn Fitzmaurice's side has been shaky, having suffered two defeats in four games and only put away bottom-placed Roscommon the last day with a Paul Geaney goal in injury-time.

The Munster champions will have to make a considerable improvement if they are to finally overcome the Dubs, who could be set to welcome Diarmuid Connolly back this weekend - and while the platform looks perfect for the Kingdom to deliver, it's still hard to envisage it happening given the current form between the two teams.

Verdict: Dublin

Allianz FL Division 2 round 5

Down v Kildare, Pairc Esler, 7pm - eir Sport

The rest of Division 2 is presently chasing Kildare and they don't look like giving up points on their visit to Newry this weekend.

Cian O'Neill's side have registered nine goals in four games thus far in the league - including four against Fermanagh the last day - and they're 8/11 favourites to continue that red-hot form at Pairc Esler.

Down are in a much different place than they were a couple of weeks ago, having registered sorely required back-to-back wins in the last two rounds, but the Lilywhites aren't likely to present them with the same comfortable start which they got in Derry two weeks ago.

Verdict: Kildare

Allianz FL Division 4 round 5

Carlow v Waterford, Netwatch Cullen Park, 7.30pm

Waterford need a win to keep themselves in the promotion hunt but home advantage should give the Barrowsiders the edge against the Deise men.

Verdict: Carlow

 

Join us for our Live Match Tracker on Saturday evening when we will be providing full text commentary on all games.

 

Sunday, March 19th

Allianz FL Division 1 round 5

Mayo v Cavan, MacHale Park, 2pm - TG4

Mayo were humbled by Dublin in round four and will look at Cavan's visit on Sunday as an ideal chance to bounce back from that demoralising 12-point loss at Croke Park.

Full-back Ger Cafferkey and O'Shea brothers, Aidan and Seamus, still remain side-lined for the Westerners this weekend, but the team's undisputed wealth of talent and experience sees them ranked as 1/5 favourites against the Breffni men.

Donegal and Tyrone dished out heavy defeats to Mattie McGleenan's side in their last two outings and they'll need points quickly if they are to salvage survival in Division 1, with a hosting of Kerry next on the agenda after this weekend. The Blues' one-point second-half return in Omagh last Sunday doesn't bode well heading into this one though.

All things considered, Mayo looked good in their triumphs over Kerry and Roscommon last month and should return to winning form on Sunday.

Verdict: Mayo

Monaghan v Roscommon, Inniskeen, 2pm - TG4 (deferred coverage)

Roscommon's late loss to Kerry last time out has left them with a real uphill task in trying to retain their Division 1 status and defeat in Inniskeen on Sunday would all but consign them to the drop.

On the other side of the coin, victory for Monaghan could potentially leave them up to second in the table, provided results go their way, and bookmakers fancy the Farney men to do so, pricing them at 4/11.

When these sides met last year it was Malachy O'Rourke's men that ended up scrambling for a victory late on, but the two teams are in very different places to then as things currently stand.

Kevin McStay must come up with a plan to try and curtail Conor McManus's deadly influence if his side are to avoid a fifth league defeat in-a-row and while there should be 'a kick' in the Rossies, all the evidence so far this year suggests a home win here. 

Verdict: Monaghan

Allianz FL Division 2 round 5

Cork v Meath, Pairc Ui Rinn, 2pm

Results in round four didn't go as some neutrals might have expected for these two sides and it sees Meath carrying momentum with them down to Pairc Ui Rinn.

Andy McEntee's side's campaign received a huge shot in the arm two weeks ago with a hard-earned victory over Galway, while on the same Sunday Cork fell to a shock defeat to Clare in Ennis, marking their first league defeat to the Banner County in 23 years.

That loss leaves Peader Healy's men hovering just above the relegation zone with three games to go and they'll be expected to put in an entirely different kind of display when the Royals come to visit this weekend.

Verdict: Cork

Fermanagh v Clare, Brewster Park, 2pm

Fermanagh are in need of points this weekend and face a tricky task when Clare come to Enniskillen, where the hosts are 8/11 favourites.

Results in Division 2 thus far defy those odds however, with the Banner men having beaten original promotion favourites Cork by eight points two Sundays ago while Pete McGrath's men shipped four goals to Kildare in Newbridge.

Nonetheless, the Ernesiders badly require a win to lift them off the foot of the table and, despite what the table currently suggests, they tend to do so under Pete McGrath in Brewster Park.

Verdict: Fermanagh

Galway v Derry, Tuam Stadium, 2pm

These two both endured upsets in round four, making the stakes even higher heading into this weekend's clash in Tuam.

Galway have come under pressure from Clare in their promotion push, while defeat for Derry on Sunday could well see them rooted to the bottom of Division 2 with two rounds remaining.

The Tribesmen are unbeaten at home after four games and look like maintaining that record against Damian Barton's struggling charges.

Verdict: Galway

Allianz FL Division 3 round 5

Longford v Sligo, Glennon Bros Pearse Park, 2pm

Longford paid the price for a sloppy start against Tipperary last Saturday and will no doubt look to hit the ground running when they welcome Sligo this weekend.

Along with Louth, the Yeats men have been somewhat of a surprise package in the third tier this year but could get their fill of it on Sunday as the Midlanders look to distance themselves from the drop.

Verdict: Longford

Louth v Armagh, Gaelic Grounds, 2pm

Louth have been the real story in Division 3 after coming through the first four rounds with a 100 per cent record, but face an Armagh side which racked up a massive 30-point victory over Offaly last time out.

It's safe to say that Kieran McGeeney's men are carrying some momentum with them into this one and they'll need it against a side which are eyeing back-to-back promotions.

Verdict: Armagh

Offaly v Tipperary, O'Connor Park, 2pm

Tipperary could potentially join Louth at the top of the table on eight points on Sunday should results go their way and they're fancied to hold up their end of the bargain in Tullamore.

Conor Sweeney was in supreme form for the Premier men against Longford last weekend and Offaly, who endured a whopping 30-point loss to Armagh two weeks ago, could struggle to halt another impressive scoring spree from the big Ballyporeen man.

Verdict: Tipperary

Antrim v Laois, Corrigan Park, 2pm

Things haven't gone according to script for Laois more than midway through their league campaign, but they head for west Belfast this weekend as 8/15 favourites nonetheless.

Antrim are above the O'Moore men in Division 3 on score difference only (-19 to -20) and are likely to have a battle on their hands on Sunday even with home advantage in their favour.

Verdict: Laois

Allianz FL Division 4 round 5

Wexford v London, Innovate Wexford Park, 1pm

Top meets bottom in Division 4 on Sunday and it should see the Slayneysiders booking their fifth league win in-a-row under Seamus McEnaney.

Verdict: Wexford

Limerick v Leitrim, Newcastlewest, 2pm

Limerick's form has been disappointing thus far and they'll look to avoid a fourth defeat when Leitrim make the journey to Newcastlewest.

Verdict: Leitrim

Westmeath v Wicklow, TEG Cusack Park, 2pm

Westmeath will want a win here to keep the heat on Wexford at the top of Division 4 and are likely do so against strugglers Wicklow in Mullingar, where the visitors are priced at 11/2 for an upset.

Verdict: Westmeath

 

Join us for our Live Match Tracker on Sunday afternoon when we will be providing full text commentary on all games.



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