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Big Preview: Allianz Football League Round 4

Dublin host Mayo and Kerry visit Galway in the pick of this weekend’s Allianz Football League games.

Saturday 23 February

Allianz FL Division 1

Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, 7pm (eir sport 1)

An early visit to Croke Park for the Westerners, who look to maintain their unbeaten start to the league. Dublin suffered defeat at the hands of Kerry last time out in Tralee, and two weeks on from that will be keen not to let Mayo relish in getting one over the current champions as well. Mayo have taken huge strides so far in James Horan’s second spell in charge, and have rung teh changes ahead of this one with six switches to the side that beat Cavan. Dublin will be bubbling for this one and on Croke Park turf, it’s hard to bet against them.

Verdict: Dublin

Tyrone v Monaghan, Healy Park, 7pm (eir sport 2)

Tyrone finally got off the ground two weeks ago with a draw against Roscommon. A win is necessary here to escape the relegation conversation, meeting a Monaghan side who’ve lost two on the bounce after beating Dublin on the opening weekend. Healy Park under lights should create the atmosphere necessary to life Tyrone to their first win of the season, but it won’t come easy against the spoilsport loving Monaghan lads.

Verdict: Tyrone

Allianz FL Division 2

Cork v Meath, Pairc Ui Rinn, 7pm

The Rebels’ problems have been well pointed out at this stage, with just a single draw from their opening three games. Meath on the other hand are going great guns and looks well in contention for a return to the Division 1 promised land. Two big wins in a row, against Donegal and Armagh, has them flying into this one. Cork will be glad to be playing in Pairc Ui Rinn so expect an improved performance.

Verdict: Meath

Allianz FL Division 4

Limerick v Leitrim, Kilmallock, 3pm

We’ve been high in our praise for Leitrim so far, who lead the league overall with more points than anyone else. Limerick were brought back down to size last week in a hard fought battle in Wicklow, but Leitrim are going far too well right now for the Shannonsiders to keep up.

Verdict: Leitrim

Sunday 24 February

Allianz FL Division 1

Galway v Kerry, Tuam Stadium, 2pm – TG4 (deferred coverage)

A potentially tasty fixture in Tuam between a Galway side looking to keep pace at the top of the leaderboard and an improving Kerry side who’ve just got the better of Dublin. Galway were devastated this week with the news that Damien Comer is set to miss the rest of the league with surgery required on his injured ankle. This will be set a big marker for Kerry, as an away trip to Galway is no walk in the park – the Tribesmen will bring plenty of physicality and not let Kerry have much time to play around with the ball. It should be a close one, with Kerry edging late on.

Verdict: Kerry

Cavan v Roscommon, Kingspan Breffni, 2.30pm

A good opportunity for Cavan to pick up their first points of the league. Roscommon are no slouches though, despite getting held to a draw against Tyrone. Cavan have a poor record against the Rossies – just two wins in their last 12 meetings – and it’s hard to see that trend stopping.

Verdict: Roscommon

Allianz FL Division 2

Armagh v Tipperary, Athletic Grounds, 2pm

A fine win last time out against Donegal got the Premier county back on track in Division 2. Armagh have left a lot to be desired in that timeframe, with draws against Clare and Kildare propping them up in the table. They’ve had Tipp’s number in recent years and should be able to pick up their first win of the league on home turf.

Verdict: Armagh

Donegal v Fermanagh, Letterkenny, 2pm

The Ernesiders are unbeaten, but have been unconvincing with their limited scoring, while Donegal were flying until they laid an egg against Tipperary. They should have enough to hand Fermanagh their first defeat of the league and keep ahead in the promotion chase.

Verdict: Donegal

Kildare v Clare, Newbridge, 2pm

A very enticing game – Kildare have been slow out the traps while Clare finally have been contesting strongly, and were rewarded with a huge win against Cork a fortnight ago. Newbridge is a different kettle of fish though for the Banner and Cian O’Neill will have his men raring to go to get into the promotion battle out of Division 2.

Verdict: Kildare

Allianz FL Division 3

Longford v Down, Pearse Park, 2pm

Longford sit atop Division 3, but Down is their toughest test to date. Down have notched two wins on the trot and have the better scoring power to tick off Longford’s first loss of the campaign.

Verdict: Down

Louth v Sligo, Gaelic Grounds, 2.30pm

Sligo have been awfully disappointing so far, winless and sinking without a trace. Louth have picked up two great wins in a row – against Laois and Offaly – scoring five goals in that time, and will fancy adding a third here.

Verdict: Louth

Westmeath v Laois, TEG Cusack Park, 2.30pm

Laois got back on track last time out with a nice win against Sligo, scoring 2-18 on the way, while Westmeath were narrow losers to Down. The visitors have the much stronger scoring options and that should be enough to get them over the line in what could be a close one.

Verdict: Laois

Offaly v Carlow, O’Connor Park, 3pm

Two teams that haven’t moved the dial much so far in the division, Offaly should just about have the better of Carlow on home soil.

Verdict: Offaly

Allianz FL Division 4

Antrim v London, Corrigan Park, 1pm

This is far from a foregone conclusion for the home side, but they acquitted themselves against Leitrim two weeks ago which should raise the confidence somewhat, enough to pick up their first win of the year.

Verdict: Antrim

Derry v Wicklow, Watty Graham Park, 2pm

Wicklow won’t make it easy for Derry and an upset wouldn’t be hugely shocking, but Derry are focused on promotion and won’t let complacency set in.

Verdict: Derry

Wexford v Waterford, Innovate Wexford Park, 2pm

Waterford are very much the basement team and despite suffering a surprisingly big loss to London two weeks, should have the better of the Deisé in this south-east derby.

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