It’s round two of the Super 8s and after a cracking opening weekend of football, it’s time to look into our crystal ball for the second round of fixtures.
After last week’s results, some of the sides will head out on the Croke Park pitch knowing that only a win will give them a chance to stay in the competition.
This punter had a 100 percent record last week and after seeing each side in action, he has full confidence he can carry that on for another week.
Dublin vs Roscommon
The toughest possible draw for Roscommon after their loss to Tyrone in Hyde Park last week. Roscommon were probably the better side in the first half last week but died a death after the break.
Their forwards were a little bit wasteful in the opening half choosing to go for goal rather than taking easy points. Niall Morgan made a couple of saves to deny the Roscommon forwards but had they tapped those shots over, they would have gone into halftime level. Instead, they were chasing the game and ultimately, Tyrone looked faster and fitter in the end.
Dublin cruised to an expected win against Cork last week. Since then, they’ve added Diarmuid Connolly to their panel which is a psychological boost if nothing else.
The way that Dublin finished last week will be a worry for Roscommon. Three of the five Dublin goals came in an eight-minute spell at the end of the second half.
Roscommon will have to manage the game better than they did last week and ensure they don’t expend all their energy into the first half. If they do, Dublin will expose them like they did Cork.
Cork vs Tyrone
Tyrone were very impressive in the second half against Roscommon but started the game rather slowly. Cork started brilliantly against Dublin so there is a good chance they could take an early three/four-point lead in this.
However, as the game runs on expect Tyrone to step it up a gear, using Cathal McShane as the focal point as they have all year.
Two issues Tyrone had last week was their discipline and their shot selection. Tyrone coughed up a couple of easy frees last week which, luckily for them, weren’t punished.
Cork do have a chance in this game if they can stick with the pace of Tyrone and be patient in the attack. Their forward line cannot be underestimated, but they have a tendency to rush things in the final third.
Donegal vs Kerry
This could prove to be the biggest game of the year. Both sides have been tipped as the closest to Dublin this year and you can see why.
Kerry were brilliant last week in their win over Mayo. They were better in every position. David Clifford again showing class well beyond his years.
Donegal were a little underwhelming despite winning by 13 points in the end. In the first half they were impatient in the final third and gave away silly turnovers and defensive issues again were again a problem. Yet, they still won by 13 points.
Eoghan Ban Gallagher reportedly suffered a serious leg injury in training during the week and is likely to miss the remainder of the season which is a massive blow to Declan Bonner’s side.
This game could well be won by the kick-out strategy. Shaun Patton has been key to Donegal this year and has barely put a foot wrong so far so it will be interesting to see how Kerry can deal with his passing.
They certainly had an answer for David Clarke’s last week, so if they can prevent Patton from finding his men, they could cause Donegal huge problems.
Mayo vs Meath
A very important game in the wider scheme of things in this series. If Meath win then it will leave the second spot up for grabs on the final day, if Mayo win they give themselves a great chance to qualify against Donegal on the final day in Castlebar.
Meath weren’t given a chance against Donegal last week and they went out as if they had a point to prove.
Defensively they were strong and disciplined, offensively they caused Donegal all sorts of problems.
Mayo were outplayed completely by Kerry last week and just looked laboured in everything they tried to do.
Despite a couple of injuries, Mayo still have a better side on paper but they will have to up the performance from last week.