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Big Preview: Allianz Football League Round 2

After an incredibly even first round of games, round two shapes to be even more unpredictable.

Saturday 2nd February

Allianz FL Division 1 Round 2

Dublin v Galway, Croke Park, 7pm

Opening their league with a defeat won’t rest well with Jim Gavin, so expect a quick backlash against Galway on Saturday night. Galway opened up their campaign with a win at home to Cavan, and althougn they held Dublin to a draw in this fixture last year the All-Ireland semi-final was a better thermometer on where each team is at in their stage of development. In other words, Dublin are the finished article and Galway the disciple. They pack a hard punch when they get firing, and a win would teeter the Dublin train somewhat, but in Croke Park that’s a mountainous task.

Verdict: Dublin

Allianz FL Division 2 Round 2

Donegal v Meath, MacCumhaill Park, 7pm

Two teams that won in round one will be seeking to make it two on the trot. Donegal visited Clare and beat a gallant Banner side. Meath defeated Tipperary on home turf, keeping them to 1-8 on the scoreboard. Donegal are starting to find scorers in an array of positions, much needed in the absence of Michael Murphy, while Eoin Bán Gallagher is establishing himself as one of the finest backs in the country.

Verdict: Donegal

Allianz FL Division 3 Round 2

Westmeath v Carlow, Mullingar, 3pm

Carlow rising indeed, promoted from Division 4 and immediately got off to a win against Sligo. Westmeath, an inconsistent force, won’t be taking the Carlow juggernaut lightly and will be keen to take a foothold on proceedings in Division 3 with a win in Mullingar.

Verdict: Westmeath

Laois v Louth, Croke Park, 3pm

Taking these two to Croke Park on Saturday afternoon may make for an eerie atmosphere. Laois were blistering last week against Down, putting up 2-15 and looking like a county capable of cutting the mustard at a higher level. Louth lost to Longford last week on home soil, and the soil of Croke Park may not be kind to the Wee County.

Verdict: Laois

Sunday 3rd February

Allianz FL Division 1 Round 2

Cavan v Kerry, Kingspan Breffni Park, 2pm

A fine start to the league in Killarney saw Kerry overcome All-Ireland finalists Tyrone in a defensive smothering that shows they are capable of great things. Cavan put up a superb fight in Galway, but Kerry is an altogether different task.

Verdict: Kerry

Tyrone v Mayo, Omagh, 2.30pm

Mayo’s mud classic against Roscommon was one to forget and visiting Omagh after Tyrone lost to Kerry isn’t a place many would be brave enough to venture. This will be an excellent barometer for not only the league, but the year ahead. Defeat for Mayo will tee up Tyrone for another long stint in summertime, but a Mayo win have them creeping back into the contender conversation.

Verdict: Tyrone

Roscommon v Monaghan, Dr Hyde Park, 2.30pm

Monaghan laid down a marker with their victory over the Dubs. They played the offensive mark to a textbook fashion, showing they’ve put the work in to take full advantage of the new rule. Roscommon lost by a point to Mayo but the loss of Donie Smith is a huge disadvantage for the Rossies.

Verdict: Monaghan

Allianz FL Division 2 Round 2

Cork v Kildare, Páirc Uí Rinn, 1pm

Two teams coming off draws so we don’t know a whole pile about either just yet. Cork threw away victory at the death against Fermanagh, while Kildare kicked a last second free to rescue their own point against Armagh. Coming down to Cork is a difficult task for any side, especially in Páirc Uí Rinn.

Verdict: Cork

Armagh v Clare, Pairc Esler, 2pm

The Orchard County were seconds from overcoming Kildare in Newbridge and now welcome Clare up to Pairc Esler. It should be a cracking game with two sides who like to get the ball up the field and make it a high scoring affair. Clare weren’t far off of Donegal, but Armagh are a tough test on home turf.

Verdict: Armagh

Tipperary v Fermanagh, Semple Stadium, 2pm

Tipp would have been bitterly disappointed with their performance in Meath last week, while Fermanagh will be buoyed by the draw they rescued from a half-time deficit against Cork. Rory Gallagher’s men are an improving unit with some class in attacking positions. If they can keep tabs with Tipperary, it should go down to the wire again.

Verdict: Fermanagh

Allianz FL Division 3 Round 2

Sligo v Down, Connolly Park, 2pm

Down, down from Division 2, were blown away by Laois last weekend while Sligo were only mustered seven points against Carlow. This will be a close one, and an important one for Down to try and slow down their downward spiral.

Verdict: Down

Longford v Offaly, Pearse Park, 2pm

A fine win to kick-off their season against Louth, something we anticipated after their off-season supporting Mullalaghta. They’re well capable of beating Offaly, who weren’t out of their depth against Westmeath last week in a one point loss. Longford rising?

Verdict: Longford

Allianz FL Division 4 Round 2

Derry v London, Owenbeg, 12.30pm

Derry squeaked a win in Antrim last week while London put up a decent performance but ultimately lost by a point to Limerick. The home side need a win urgently to slow down their slide downwards which has been far too quick for a county of their station.

Verdict: Derry

Limerick v Waterford, Newcastlewest, 2pm

A fine win against London sees Limerick off the rock bottom of the league, facing a Waterford side who would have been absolutely heartbroken after a one point loss to Wicklow. When they start winning, no matter the code, Limerick get a taste for it, and should have enough to overcome the Déise.

Verdict: Limerick

Wexford v Antrim, Innovate Wexford Park, 2pm

A huge defeat to kick-off their league, Wexford are by no means a football powerhouse but should put in a decent fight against Antrim, but ultimately fall short.

Verdict: Antrim

Wicklow v Leitrim, Aughrim, 2.30pm

The Garden County squeaked a win against Waterford and face Leitrim who were superb against Wexford, putting up 3-15 in one of them more impressive victories in week one. They will be aiming for a repeat of that.

Verdict: Leitrim

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