By Mike FitzpatrickNoon
Junior Football Division B
St. Raymonds vs. Armagh
With Collie Fearon at the helm of the junior Armagh side, much is expected from them. Armagh has a little more firepower within their ranks to overcome the men from Raymonds, and despite a huge effort on behalf of Dave and Pat Ryan’s boys, Armagh may have the superiority in this encounter.
Raymonds have proven themselves as battlers before and, at Gaelic Park, it’s never a bad idea to back the underdog.
I feel an Armagh victory may be on the cards, though Raymonds could well prove me wrong.
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Senior Hurling Knockout
Offaly vs. Limerick
Sean Guinan was smiling at the end of last Sunday’s program, when his beloved Offaly inflicted a heavy defeat upon Longford in the football championship. The prospect of facing former League champs, Limerick, however, will be a little more daunting. Offaly has proved themselves on previous occasions to have had talented players at their disposal, but they failed to gel completely as a team. This inevitably led to an abundance of defeats last year.
Limerick, the champions from 1998, hope to start the season off on a good note.
Senior Football Division 1
Kerry vs. Monaghan
The obvious draw of the day. Last year, Kerry, with Paddy Kearney at the helm, transformed themselves from just another Division 2 team, into New York Champions in a very brief period of time. Therefore, whereas teams went out to merely try and beat Kerry last year, this time around they will be doing their damnedest to find even the slightest chink in the armor of Paddy’s princes from the Kingdom.
Kerry, have much the same squad as last year and have gained Dave McSweeney from Donegal’s midfield. With New York all-stars such as Bingo Driscoll and the terrier-like Paddy Connor on board, Monaghan certainly have their work cut out for them.
The northern side is not without their own stars. The signing of last years championship’s top scorer Mickey Slowey from Tyrone should surely prove to be a managerial masterstroke. Monaghan could have done so much better last year, having led the best sides at key periods in games, but more often than not they lost their nerve toward the end of games.
When the final ball had been kicked in their season, Monaghan ended up in a very disappointing position near the bottom of the table. A great game to bring the crowds back to Gaelic Park, as both sides have exceptional support. If last year can be used as a guideline, I’d plump for a Kerry win despite a dogged Monaghan performance. At Gaelic Park though, who knows?
Senior Football Division 2
Clare vs. Rockland
An historic day for Rockland, as it heralds their first outing for the club at senior level. Capturing the Junior A title last season, Rockland hope they can continue their march to the top by at least making the playoffs this year.
Having experienced a disappointing season last year, Clare will be out to prove the nay sayers wrong this time around. Rockland have more to prove however, and I feel that they may just overcome their counterparts on Sunday.
Upcoming ladies football
April 9 at Paddy’s Field: 1:30 p.m., Mayo vs. Cavan; 2:45 p.m., Rockland vs. Stamford; 4 p.m., Na Fianna vs. Leitrim; 5:15 p.m., Donegal vs. Monaghan.