Countrywide Affair This Weekend As Fascinating League Double-Bill Awaits
Three provinces are represented at Croke Park this weekend as Dublin take on Monaghan in round three of the Allianz Football League, while the host county play Cork in the LGFA National Football League beforehand.
Croke Park under lights is always a special occasion and we expect two games of the highest standard this Saturday evening to supplement the atmosphere.
Monaghan got off the mark with a 1-12 to 0-11 Ulster derby win over Tyrone at Castleblayney last Sunday with their defence excelling. A Karl O'Connell goal on 44 minutes was the decisive score but Conor McCarthy, who hit three points on the spin last weekend, was excellent too. Niall Kearns and Dermot Malone will give Dublin plenty to ponder around the middle of the field, but they take on Dublin without the suspended Kieran Hughes and that’s a setback.
Dessie Farrell, meanwhile, got his first win as Dubs senior boss when his side beat Mayo in front of a crowd of 15,148 last weekend.
Ciaran Kilkenny played an integral part in Dublin’s seventh successive victory over the Westerners and is likely to be equally prominent against Monaghan.
Kilkenny’s ball-carrying and playmaking kept Mayo on the back-foot and he will look to inflict a similar fate on Monaghan.
Dean Rock finished with 1-3 against Mayo, while James McCarthy was a driving force from the half-back line.
Meanwhile, the Dublin ladies are going for four All-Ireland titles in a row and meet Cork, the reigning League champions. Both teams are down key players at the moment but if Cork win Munster, they’ll be in same group for the new Championship format and could potentially meet in the 2020 Final.
Cork have thus far pulled clear at the top after Round 2 of the League. Áine O’Sullivan hit two goals as Cork proved too strong for Tipperary at Ardfinnan last time out and they will be keen to impact against Mick Bohan’s side this weekend.
By Damian Lawlor