Last weekend we’d thumping rain and swirling wind, Tyrone crashing out of the football championship, and Limerick and Tipperary’s heavyweight hurling clash. Another busy two days of GAA action are ahead of us this weekend, with nine football fixtures and two hurling qualifiers. Here’s all you need to know . . .
- All-Ireland SHC round 1 qualifier – Clare v Laois, Nowlan Park, 1.15pm
- All-Ireland SHC round 1 qualifier – Dublin v Cork, Semple Stadium, 3.45pm
- Munster SFC semi-final – Limerick v Tipperary, LIT Gaelic Grounds, 1.15pm
- Ulster SFC quarter-final – Cavan v Antrim, Kingspan Breffni, 1.15pm
- Leinster SFC quarter-final – Dublin v Westmeath, O’Moore Park, 6.15pm
- Connacht SFC semi-final – Roscommon v Mayo, Dr Hyde Park, 1.30pm
- Ulster SFC quarter-final – Fermanagh v Down, Brewster Park, 1.30pm
- Leinster SFC quarter-final – Longford v Laois, Pearse Park, 1.30pm
- Leinster SFC quarter-final – Wicklow v Meath, Aughrim, 1.30pm
- Leinster SFC quarter-final – Offaly v Kildare, O’Moore Park, 5.30pm
- Munster SFC semi-final – Cork v Kerry, Pairc Ui Chaoimh, 4pm
There are no qualifiers in this year’s football championship, but in the hurling a backdoor system does remain for counties beaten in their provinces. That said, all four teams in action this weekend are already in last chance territory.
So the losers of Saturday’s round one qualifiers will be the first two teams to exit the hurling championship. The winners will enter round two, along with last weekend’s other beaten teams – Wexford and Tipperary. The winners of round two will play the beaten provincial finalists in the All-Ireland quarter-final.
Sligo announced on Tuesday night that they have withdrawn from their Connacht semi-final against Galway – which had been fixed for this weekend – due to a coronavirus outbreak among their squad. The Sligo county board had reported on Tuesday that seven players had tested positive for Covid-19.
Cork v Kerry
With so much on the line, these two haven’t met in a Munster championship fixture with so much on the line since 2000. Kerry may be going for eight provincial titles in a row but, more often than not, matches between these two take on a life of their own. Cork showed serious improvements in last year’s 3-10 to 1-19 Munster final defeat, and have since cruised through the league to earn bounce back promotion. One of these teams – Division 1 and Division 3 league champions – will be gone after just one outing.
Roscommon v Mayo
Another provincial semi-final between two teams who reached last year’s Super 8s. Mayo are out for revenge after losing to the Rossies at this stage in 2019, and despite league relegation they’ve shown excellent form in recent weeks. So too have Roscommon, in securing the Division 2 title despite playing against Cavan without 13 players and their manager (due to a Covid-19 scare in the squad).
Dublin v Westmeath
Dessie Farrell’s Dublin team start their All-Ireland defence, and bid for an astonishing six in a row, against Westmeath at O’Moore Park on Saturday evening. Despite a mixed bag of a league, the Dubs are unlikely to face much of a challenge in Leinster, however Farrell’s first championship selection will be interesting.
Dublin v Cork
The big hurling clash of the weekend. Cork were a no show against a fired up Waterford while Dublin’s comeback fell short against Kilkenny. The Rebels edged a qualifier between the teams in 2016, and the 2013 All-Ireland semi-final. They’ll be favourites here again, although Dublin showed better form last time out.
What’s on TV
Sky Sports Mix are live with their GAA coverage from 2.45pm on Saturday – they’re showing the Dublin hurling and football matches.
The Munster football semi-final between Limerick and Tipperary will be live on the RTÉ News Now channel, that throws in at 1.15pm. Cavan and Antrim’s Ulster football quarter-final is on BBC Northern Ireland at the same time.
On Sunday, Fermanagh and Down is also on BBC NI, at the same time as RTÉ2’s coverage of Roscommon v Mayo (throw-in is 1.30pm). That’s followed by Cork v Kerry, while all the weekend’s other football and hurling championship fixtures will be live on the GAAGo streaming service.
Met Éireann are forecasting light rain with temperatures of 12 degrees for Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday afternoon. In Roscommon it’ll be cloudy but dry with similar temperatures. Thurles is expected to have almost identical weather conditions on Saturday while it will be dry but a little colder (10 degrees) when the Dubs come to Portlaoise that evening.