SFC 2015

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SFC 2015

Post  Thomas Clarke on Tue May 12, 2015 11:53 am

The first big weekend of Championship football is upon us, and what better way to start than yet another Ulster revival of Donegal v Tyrone in Ballybofey.

In the last few years, Mickey Harte tried and failed several times to beat Jim McGuinness' men, while the league hammering in March indicates that his task will be just as formidable against a Rory Gallagher led Donegal team.

Tyrone are 7th favourites for Ulster this year. I can't even remember when we were last as far out as 7th favourites for the AI, which reflects how far we have fallen in the public esteem. Still, Tyrone football received a great boost from the U21's AI win, and mood in the county is reservedly optimistic for this one. I'm told that training is going well, and we are reasonably free of injuries.

Can Tyrone upset all the odds and give Mickey Harte the victory that his flagging tenure badly needs? Or will Donegal's size, power and inside forwards once more dump us out of Ulster? It's a great way to start the summer!
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Re: SFC 2015

Post  Boxtyeater on Thu May 14, 2015 8:38 pm

We kick off our campaign on Sunday at home to Galway. New Manager Shane Ward has gone for broke throwing in 5 new caps into a young and largely inexperienced team. The great thing about this is that they bring no baggage and truth be told, little is expected of them.

Leitrim (SF v Galway):

Cathal McCrann (Gortletteragh).

Matthew Murphy (Ballinamore Sean O’Heslins), Ronan Gallagher (Mohill), Niall Woods (Gortletteragh).

Sean McWeeney (Captain, Aughnasheelin), Gary Reynolds (Carrigallen), Thomas Mulvey (Allen Gaels).

Darren Sweeney (Glencar/Manorhamilton), Shane Moran (Ballinamore Sean O’Heslins).

Danny Beck (Mohill), Donal Wrynn (Fenagh St Caillins), Kevin Conlan (St Patrick’s Dromahair).

Ronan Kennedy (Mohill), James McGrail (St Mary’s Kiltoghert), Fergal Clancy (Glenfarne/Kiltyclogher).

Fenagh are represented by the towering figure of Donal Wrynn at c/h/f - the World handball champion will probably box over 3/4 points from around the 40yd. position. Boxty's long enduring calls for the addition of Shane Moran at m/f have been answered. The new manager is happy to put the "Beergate" issue of 2013 behind him and motor on.

Good luck to the lads, they'll possibly need a goal or two to squeak home.
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Re: SFC 2015

Post  Thomas Clarke on Fri May 15, 2015 8:39 am

It's a sign of how long it is since I've seen Leitrim play, that I can honestly admit to not having a view on any of those players.  A few names are familiar, but they are only names.  Still, I'll be hoping for a huge upset to kick things off in the West.  Tyrone's lineup will, to many, be barely more recognisable, given the change that we've undergone in recent years.  Still, there is a reasonable amount of experience in there, as shown by the appearance totals below (Championship appearances in brackets).


1 – Michael O’Neill – Cluain Eo  – Appearances 7 (1)
2 – Aidan McCrory – Aireagal Chiaráin – Appearances 62 (11)
3 – Ronan McNamee – Achadh Uí Aráin – Appearances 37 (5)
4 – Cathal McCarron – An Droim Mór – Appearances 64 (14)
5 – Ronan McNabb – An Droim Mór – Appearances 38 (8}
6 – Justin McMahon – An Omaigh – Appearances 84 (30)
7 – Peter Harte – Aireagal Chiaráin – Appearances 83 (25)
8 – Colm Cavanagh – An Mhaigh – Appearances 101 (36)
9 – Padraig McNulty – Dún Geanainn – Appearances 12 (0)
10 – Tiernan McCann – Coill an Chlochair – Appearances 23 (1)
11 – Matthew Donnelly – Trí Leac – Appearances 58 (16)
12 – Barry Tierney – An Omaigh – Appearances  19 (2)
13 – Darren McCurry – Éadan na dTorc – Appearances 39 (13)
14 – Sean Cavanagh (c) – An Mhaigh – Appearances  202 (72)
15 – Connor McAliskey – Cluain Eo – Appearances 36 (9)

16 – Niall Morgan – Éadan na dTorc – Appearances 37 (6)
17 – Rory Brennan – Trí Leac – Appearances 3 (0)
18 – Mark Bradley – Coill an Chlochair – Appearances 1 (0)
19 – Conor Clarke – An Omaigh – Appearances 37 (12)
20 – Peter Hughes  – Eiscreach – Appearances 17 (0)
21 – Danny McBride – An Srath Bán – Appearances 18 (3)
22 – Conall McCann – Coill an Chochair – Appearances 9 (0)
23 – Ryan McKenna – Eaglais – Appearances 31 (7)
24 – Joe McMahon  – An Omaigh – Appearances 117 (56)
25 – Cathal McShane – E R Uí Néill – Appearances 6 (0)
26 – Ronan O Neill – An Omaigh – Appearances 32 (6)
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Re: SFC 2015

Post  Thomas Clarke on Fri May 15, 2015 9:43 pm

Tyrone are massive underdogs and written off by most, yet the whispers from the camp have been very positive. Morgan is the only 'injury' (yet he's the only keeper on the bench?), and the side has had as low key a build up as I remember. Donegal are rightly strong favourites, yet this week I've heard many Tyrone people say '...they're a great side and they should beat us but, you know, I just have a feeling...'

One thing is certain, this game will go a long way to determining Mickey Harte's future as Tyrone manager. We've had almost ideal preparation and, if we aren't good enough to give it a real rattle, then we'll probably be looking for new ideas before long. Anyway, as I've said, Donegal are a mighty side littered with stars, but, you know, I just have a feeling...
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Re: SFC 2015

Post  Gaa_lover on Sat May 16, 2015 8:43 pm

Great comeback win for Longford this evening from 0-12 to 0-5 behind to win 0-16 to 0-13. Dublin next for them best of luck to them in that game as they will need it.

Laois as expected gave Carlow a serious trimming.

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Re: SFC 2015

Post  champers on Sun May 17, 2015 10:51 pm

Horrible game today Tyrone didn't get the rub of the green today thought the clown in the middle made a mess of the game pure clown.Murphy is a pure thug on the football pitch cant understand how people have an aura about him.Anytime Harte went forward he looked dangerous M Donnelly is a class act should be playing at 14.Donegal look like they are running out of steam but yet when they break from defence at pace they look classy.Will take a good team to beat them but they wont win Sam again.

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Re: SFC 2015

Post  Gaa_lover on Mon May 18, 2015 3:29 am

I thought Tyrone v Donegal was a good enjoyable first half both goals could have been defended better though and the 1-1 for Donegal before half time is what probably won the game for them. 2nd half was pure dog fight stuff too much pulling and dragging little football on show and the ref struggled to keep control of the game.

Leitrim gave a decent account of themselves but lacked the forwards to cause a shock i think 4 or 5 goal chances were created and kicked doubled the amount of wides. Galway play Mayo next on June 14th and will have to improve greatly to trouble the defending Connacht champions.

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Re: SFC 2015

Post  bocerty on Mon May 18, 2015 2:57 pm

champers wrote:Horrible game today Tyrone didn't get the rub of the green today thought the clown in the middle made a mess of the game pure clown.Murphy is a pure thug on the football pitch cant understand how people have an aura about him.Anytime Harte went forward he looked dangerous M Donnelly is a class act should be playing at 14.Donegal look like they are running out of steam but yet when they break from defence at pace they look classy.Will take a good team to beat them but they wont win Sam again.

two points i will pick up on Champers - the clown in the middle reference is very unfair - i have no great love for the man but you would have needed about 10 pairs of eyes to keep check on everything that was going on yesterday, i did think big Gallagher should have been away long before he actually did walk and a few others were very lucky too.

I would totally agree about Murphy from what i seen of him yesterday - and i will accept he was subjected to some very close personal attention - he should have walked more than once for straight red offences - Justy perhaps a bit lucky too.

Its very interesting to read the views of some very biased Donegal folk who talk about how cynical Tyrone are - in my view the two worst cnuts on a football field are those Magee whores - they make Ricey look like a saint.

We can take some positives from the game and build on them - but we still lack a top drawer forward who is going to give us 6-7 points a game. The first 10 minutes and the last 2-3 of the first half is where we lost the game, had we went in half time with a lead i reckon we could have pushed on.

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Re: SFC 2015

Post  Thomas Clarke on Mon May 18, 2015 4:04 pm

-  The 1st half was superb.  In very tough conditions, it was fast, hard-hitting and had many great scores.  The 2nd half was a poor spectacle.  There was a lot of bad blood on show in this game, which is never nice to see, and both sides must share the blame here.  For 'Justin McMahon', read 'Eamon McGee'.

- In the build up, Mickey talked about our 'near misses' in the league, trying to paint a positive picture on our relegation, and now he says that yesterday's defeat was Tyrone's best performance in years.  Well, forgive me if I don't get too excited, but we just lost to the same opposition for the 4th time in 5 seasons, and our record shows that we've won only 1 of our last 9 league and championship games.  Yes, Tyrone showed plenty of spirit and played quite well, but that is the least you'd expect in the first round of the championship.  Moral victories are beginning to feel very hollow, so perhaps a qualifier run is what we need to build morale.

-  Throughout our barren spell, Mickey has continually picked almost an identical side.  After being slated for using 34 players in last year's championship, he has gone to the other extreme this season.  Mickey has identified what he believes is his best team and, the odd cosmetic tweak aside, has played it week after week.  I expect more of the same in the qualifiers.

- This was a real baptism of fire for our 5 debutants, with only the outstanding Mickey O'Neill looking the part.  McShane, Brennan, McNulty and Bradley all looked overwhelmed, though the qualifiers will hopefully give them a much-needed chance to get accustomed to the speed/physicality of the game at the highest level.

- Peter Harte was the best player on the pitch in the first half, while Connor McAliskey delivered a message to a manager who has thus far shown little faith in him.  Sean Cavanagh also had a good game despite rough treatment.

- Mattie Donnelly does a lot of good things, but he also takes so much out of the ball at times.  On several occasions, Tyrone were breaking at speed, only for Mattie to get on the ball and start soloing across the pitch.  If you delay your attack against sides like Donegal, you allow them to regroup.  

-  Donegal looked quite good, with Frank McGlynn having now passed Karl Lacy as arguably the best half back in Ireland.  Colm Anthony did what Colm Anthony does in wet, windy days against Tyrone in Ballybofey.  Though not fit, I still hold that Mark McHugh is a key player, and Donegal will need him much sharper later in the year.

-  Overall, I felt that we gave this our best shot, but we ultimately still weren't good enough.
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Re: SFC 2015

Post  Gaa_lover on Mon May 18, 2015 7:11 pm

bocerty wrote:we still lack a top drawer forward who is going to give us 6-7 points a game.  The first 10 minutes and the last 2-3 of the first half is where we lost the game, had we went in half time with a lead i reckon we could have pushed on.
Few of those forwards around nowadays. Unless you are talking about a forward like say O Connor of Mayo where most of his scores comes from frees?

Tyrone U-21s won the All Ireland a few weeks ago thanks mostly to solid defensive unit throughout the team the goal and a number of points Tyrone conceded yesterday was down to poor defending. Tyrone will have improve in defence if they plans to reach the All Ireland quarter final this summer.

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Re: SFC 2015

Post  bocerty on Tue May 19, 2015 11:40 am

Moral victory is what it was TC and to be honest we need more than one of those at the minute. We have had no free taker for almost 5 years and appear no closer to solving that problem.

We gave a debut to young Brennan and while he didnt do a whole lot wrong he didnt exactly take too many risks either - that was a role big Joe could have filled and probably offered a bit more in the process.

As well as the 3 U21s to started word is another 4 of that team have refused to join the panel.

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Re: SFC 2015

Post  Thomas Clarke on Tue May 19, 2015 12:30 pm

bocerty wrote:
We gave a debut to young Brennan and while he didnt do a whole lot wrong he didnt exactly take too many risks either - that was a role big Joe could have filled and probably offered a bit more in the process.

As well as the 3 U21s to started word is another 4 of that team have refused to join the panel.

Brennan marked Ryan McHugh in the same way that Justy marked Murphy. Back to the ball, eyes only on the man. McHugh was quiet, but Brennan contributed nothing.

That's interesting re. the U21s. I heard a few had been called up, but none of the fullback line. That surprised me, as would Mullan, Hampsey and Cassidy be any weaker than our current trio? I heard that Hampsey's row with Peter Harte in a club game last year has sealed his fate with the boss.

I know what you mean about us needing a moral victory, but I am sick to death of Mickey saying that everything is fine and picking the same team week after week, when we have long forgotten how to win games. I think we should aspire to more than going to Ballybofey and not getting tanked.
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Re: SFC 2015

Post  bocerty on Wed May 20, 2015 1:08 pm

Thomas Clarke wrote:
bocerty wrote:
We gave a debut to young Brennan and while he didnt do a whole lot wrong he didnt exactly take too many risks either - that was a role big Joe could have filled and probably offered a bit more in the process.

As well as the 3 U21s to started word is another 4 of that team have refused to join the panel.

Brennan marked Ryan McHugh in the same way that Justy marked Murphy.  Back to the ball, eyes only on the man.  McHugh was quiet, but Brennan contributed nothing.

That's interesting re. the U21s.  I heard a few had been called up, but none of the fullback line.  That surprised me, as would Mullan, Hampsey and Cassidy be any weaker than our current trio?  I heard that Hampsey's row with Peter Harte in a club game last year has sealed his fate with the boss.

I know what you mean about us needing a moral victory, but I am sick to death of Mickey saying that everything is fine and picking the same team week after week, when we have long forgotten how to win games.  I think we should aspire to more than going to Ballybofey and not getting tanked.

as far as i know Hampsey was one of the 4 who turned Mickey down Mcgeary being another one. Sorry i wasnt suggesting we needed a moral victory more that i was sick of people treating this as one - as a county we should be aspiring to more than moral victories - not this half arsed approach

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Re: SFC 2015

Post  Thomas Clarke on Wed May 20, 2015 2:39 pm

That's interesting, Boc.  When you also consider the lads who left the panel last month, I think it highlights the general feeling in the county that this is Mickey's last stand as manager.  In the past, lads might have wanted to be involved, believing that to refuse would ruin their chances forever.  Now, it seems like most are thinking 'I'm not going to go to sit on the bench all summer, when I can just wait for the new manager later in the year'.

On the subject of Mickey, I thought it was very poor form that he announced a dummy side at the annual Club Tyrone dinner last Thursday night.  I know that dummy sides are unfortunately commonplace nowadays, but Mickey always used to show respect to the Club Tyrone patrons by telling them the truth about the side for the Championship opener.  With hindsight, this would explain why his traditional post-announcement Q&A session with the audience seemed much shorter than usual.

So, well done Mickey, you stood up and insulted the intelligence of the people who helped fund Garvaghey, and we still lost anyway.
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Re: SFC 2015

Post  Boxtyeater on Wed May 20, 2015 10:03 pm

Mickey is an odd kind of man as far as I can see. I watched him for an hour t'other night with a rather tame interviewer Pat Kenny.
His manifestations about Gawd finally got on my wick. Now we're almost all in fear of God, but the mentions of Gawd outweighed football, Tyrone and tactics combined. He came across to me as a bit of a religious nut, devoid of any form of wit or adventure, bereft of any tales of porter or shennagins, team-bonding exercises or any form of enjoyment.

I'd say about 20 minutes of him below in Nealie's in Fenagh would have dispersed the gathering. Poor oul' Nealie, the Lord have mercy on him would have him offed after 5 minutes.
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Re: SFC 2015

Post  Thomas Clarke on Fri May 22, 2015 1:53 pm

Boxtyeater wrote: His manifestations about Gawd finally got on my wick. Now we're almost all in fear of God, but the mentions of Gawd outweighed football, Tyrone and tactics combined. He came across to me as a bit of a religious nut....

I was wondering how long it would take him to wade in on this one.

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In footballing terms, Mickey's time passed a few years ago. In a social context, I'd suggest decades.
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Re: SFC 2015

Post  Boxtyeater on Thu May 28, 2015 9:49 pm

I watched the Cavan/Monaghan game there this evening and came away disappointed with Cavan. They badly lack cutting edge forwards as they are unable to find the right outlet at the right time. They appear to get the jitters when about the 40yd. mark and begin to go laterally.
Their inside line, to be fair, just don't make the right moves or any form of movement to offer themselves. Getting to 4 points ahead coming down the straight should have given them the impetus to kick for home but they found themselves forced back by incessant Monaghan efforts.

O'Rourke used his bench well. Dick stormed into it, Gollogly put himself about and when the game was in the melting pot, old hands like Mone, Corey, the Hughes' and McManus upped the effort. From their perspective it's a pity Clerkin and Finlay aren't 5 years younger, as they'd be a more serious outfit than they are now. They're a rugged bunch just the same (when weren't they) and will still have a good rattle at the Anglo Celt trophy Wink
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Re: SFC 2015

Post  Gaa_lover on Fri May 29, 2015 5:13 pm

Opportunity lost for Cavan on Sunday just the little bit more experience by Monaghan got them over the line, i think on the day Cavan actuality scored more play than Monaghan did and kicking double the amount of wides not having a top free taker was their downfall. Keating and Givney are two forwards that Cavan could have done with this year.

Monaghan will probably do the same as last year lose both the Ulster final and quarter final. The winner of Armagh v Donegal will likely win Ulster.

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Re: SFC 2015

Post  Thomas Clarke on Fri May 29, 2015 5:53 pm

Gaa_lover wrote:
The winner of Armagh v Donegal will likely win Ulster.

I don't see much in Armagh. They're a very average side who went on a bit of a run last summer.
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Re: SFC 2015

Post  Gaa_lover on Fri May 29, 2015 7:16 pm

Thomas Clarke wrote:
Gaa_lover wrote:
The winner of Armagh v Donegal will likely win Ulster.

I don't see much in Armagh.  They're a very average side who went on a bit of a run last summer.
If they beat Donegal it could give them the confidence to go on similar run but this time in Ulster.

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Re: SFC 2015

Post  Thomas Clarke on Sat May 30, 2015 9:33 am

Gaa_lover wrote:
Thomas Clarke wrote:
Gaa_lover wrote:
The winner of Armagh v Donegal will likely win Ulster.

I don't see much in Armagh.  They're a very average side who went on a bit of a run last summer.
If they beat Donegal it could give them the confidence to go on similar run but this time in Ulster.

I guess what I'm saying is that they are underdogs v Donegal, are no better than Down/Derry, and aren't as good as Monaghan. They'd need a lot of luck to win anything.
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Re: SFC 2015

Post  Gaa_lover on Sun Jun 07, 2015 6:52 pm

Laois v Kildare, Down v Derry two close competitive games that could have went either way i'd have those type of matches a thousand times before the Dublin hammerings in Leinster. Would still have to wonder about the schedule of the GAA championship, only two football games this weekend compared to six next weekend.

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Re: SFC 2015

Post  Early_Ball_In on Sun Jun 07, 2015 10:34 pm

Lads, what did you make of that match in Derry earlier? I'd like a bit of neutral opinion. For me, I felt 14 men Down should have won it - too many poor wides.

Very disappointed to see playacting in our great association to get a fellow competitor the line when there was clearly nothing in it. That lad was making his Championship debut today and to have a fellow Gael behave in that manner was frankly disgraceful.

I fancy Armagh for Ulster now.
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Re: SFC 2015

Post  Boxtyeater on Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:17 pm

Early_Ball_In wrote:
I fancy Armagh for Ulster now.

I think Wickla have them in Aughrim - they'll get their fill of it down there.

Donegal: Very impressive. Very fit and powerful if you take out the McHughs. They're mixing it a bit which is good to see. McBrearty has filled out well and is a tidy footballer. They will be there or thereabouts if they keep the heads. Armagh were stone cold woeful.

Mayo: Disappointing. They would be average enough without the O'Sheas and only for a series of calamities by the Galway backline would have struggled. I fear they've begun the descent without hoisting Sam.

Kildare: Blew Laois away with fitness and energy. Will probably trouble the Dubs for 50 minutes before the qualifiers.

Meath: A poor enough look to them but they are carrying a good few injuries. Westmeath may surprise them the next day.

Kerry: Lack-lustre enough but as the great Waterville guru might muse "Yerrah!". Good to see Gooch back. There or thereabouts again.

Cork: I've given up on them. Kerry likely to end their aspirations of even a Munster.

Westmeath: Took a long time to kill off a moderate Wexford. Still capable of troubling Meath.
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Re: SFC 2015

Post  Thomas Clarke on Thu Jul 09, 2015 11:50 am

Random musings on what I've seen over the last few weeks:

- Dublin's dominance within their province is reaching historic levels. In 8 games under Gavin, their closest margin of victory was 7 points, and the average is 15. While I'd agree with their raging hot favouritism for Sam, I'd offer FF line as evidence for caution. Bernard is not the player he was, Costello and Mannion aren't pushing on, O'Gara is injured, Andrews is average and McMenamin is hit and miss. So far, the possession they win throughout the side has meant this isn't an issue, but the top couple of teams may pose more questions when the pressure ratchets up.

- Westmeath's comeback to beat Meath for the first time was stirring stuff. John Heslin is a very fine footballer, but Meath gave him far too much space. The reverse was true in the first half, as schoolboy defending from Westmeath almost allowed the Royals to build an unassailable lead. I'd fear an almighty hiding is coming in the Leinster final.

- Meath were what they have been for years. Flashy at times with fast, skillful forwards, but lacking in bottle and fitness. Their conditioning in recent times has long appeared to be 10 years behind the top sides.

- Kerry need to get their best side fit. Cooper and O'Donoghue aren't at the pace of the game yet but, in that regard, the replay against Cork could be a blessing. Elsewhere in attack, BJ Keane is an average player and O'Brien looks a bit one-sided to me, so I'm unsure as to how anyone would be starting them ahead of Paul Geaney.

- Considering he is a defender, Fionn Fitzgerald's equalising point was one of the finest you'll ever see under pressure. Serious cajones.

- Cork battled bravely against Kerry, but I don't think they have enough good players to mount an AI challenge.

- Sligo were superb against Roscommon in a very entertaining match, but they won't threaten Mayo in the slightest. In fact, they won't win another game this summer.

- For all their underage success in Ulster, Cavan have produced very few footballers of note. Their tame exit to Roscommon was a 70 minute comparison of how much more talent the Rossie's will have available to work with in the coming years.

- Down did well in reaching division 1 this season but, unless they aim to peak in February/March, they'll struggle badly there. Antrim aside, they are perhaps the weakest team in Ulster right now.

- Armagh v Galway and Tyrone v Meath are 2 very interesting games this weekend. The Ulster sides will be favoured at home, but it would be no surprise to me to see 2 upsets. The northern neighbours struggle to core and, if they fall behind early, you'd fancy the southerners in an ensuing shootout.

- Tyrone were dreadful against Limerick, lacking any penetration or incisiveness. We've scored more than 12 times only twice in our last 10 games, and we've failed to win any of our last 7 home matches against division 1 or 2 opposition. If we are as poor again, Meath will win on Saturday. Either way, our summer won't run much longer, and the end of the Harte era must surely be imminent.

- While I hope Michael Lyster recovers quickly from his heart-attack, Daragh Maloney is doing a great job as his replacement on The Sunday Game. He did more to control Brolly last weekend that Lyster has done in 15 years.

- It's a real shame that SKY aren't showing a qualifier this weekend, as their football coverage has been outstanding so far. Carney and Wyse are upbeat anchors, while Peter Canavan and Jimmy McGuinness are providing tactical masterclasses as analysts.
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