By Mike Fitzpatrick
Rangers vs. Rockland
Table topping Rangers face a serious threat versus contenders Rockland in this tie which will surely go a long way toward announcing the outcome of potential playoff attendees. Rockland have proved that they have what it takes having thumped Westput a number of weeks back. Rangers though have climbed almost effortlessly to the top of the table with three victories out of four so far. They still must look over their shoulders at Donegal and Rockland but they will no doubt be favorites for this tie. Denis Tuomey’s men will go all out for glory here, and if David Phelan is in as good form as he has proved to be so far this season, the points will surely go to Rangers.
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Limerick vs. Offaly
Limerick are favorites to win all before them in hurling circles this year. Having already qualified for the playoffs. This game, therefore, means little to Dave Sims and Offaly may try to use this to their advantage. Hovering above bottom club Kilkenny, with only one point from three games, Sean Guinan’s men must clinch something from this tie. They still have two games to play following this runout, so all is not yet lost. If their form improves and they can grab something from their remaining games, they’re in with a shout, but I wouldn’t bet too much upon this outcome. Limerick to gain a win.
Monaghan vs. Tyrone
The match of the day, sees Messrs. Dooley and Devlin’s squads face off in a Northern challenge that will do much to decide this season’s eventual playoff participants. Tyrone have looked good, winning three out of four, whereas Monaghan have now lost three on the trot. Michael Slowey is the man Monaghan’s Gary Birdy and Bonnie Duffy will have to watch out for, but I doubt if they have to be reminded of this. It’s doubtful whether Kieran Tavey will make the lineup, having damaged ribs a couple of weeks back, so a lot of pressure will lie upon the shoulders of P.J. Rogers and Eddie Murphy up front for Tyrone. Monaghan simply have to win, but it looks doubtful where their current form is concerned.
Roscommon vs. Kerry
Table topping Kerry take on midtable Roscommon that should by rights see the lads from the Kingdom move closer to playoff security. But when in Gaelic Park, do things ever go as expected? Kerry had lost a couple of key players coming into this season, but have gone from strength to strength this year in winning three out of three. Longford appear to be their main threat for playoff contention, and allthough there have been upsets and surprising results in Gaelic Park in recent times, this one should go in favor of the Kerry team.