GAA football previews: Monaghan to edge out Cavan in tight drumlin derby

Cork expected to get championship campaign up and running by disposing of struggling Limerick’s challenge


Connacht SFC quarter-final

London v Galway, McGovern Park, Ruislip, 3.0 (GAAGO): Galway’s injury travails have been well documented at this stage, but Pádraic Joyce’s men are too experienced, too battle-hardened and too talented to slip up in London. Michael Maher’s London were competitive throughout their Division Four campaign, but the jump up to play a Division One outfit like Galway is alternating from flyweight to heavyweight. Verdict: Galway



Munster SFC quarter-finals

Waterford v Tipperary, Fraher Field, 2.0: It has been a difficult season for Waterford, who are trying to bed in several new players under a fresh management team fronted by former Meath footballer Paul Shankey. But truth be told it has been a lacklustre year for Tipp so far, too. The sides drew when they met in the league, but Waterford’s defence has been shipping too many scores and that could cost them here against another team not brimming with confidence. Verdict: Tipperary

Cork v Limerick, SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 2.0

The fall for Limerick has been brisk and brutal, from Division Two in 2023 to Division Four in 2025. They haven’t won a competitive game since beating Carlow in the Tailteann Cup last May. Cork look to have turned their season around and the Rebels finished the league strongly in Division Two. They should get over Limerick with little fuss. Verdict: Cork

Leinster SFC round one

Wexford v Carlow, Chadwicks Wexford Park, 2.30

Wexford finished third in Division Four with 10 points, with Carlow joint fourth with eight points. However, that only tells part of the story. Wexford’s scoring difference was plus 37, Carlow’s was minus six. When the sides met in March, Wexford eased to victory, 1-14 to 0-7. And as formlines go, Wexford won their last four games in the division, three of them by double digits. Carlow won just one of their last three. Verdict: Wexford

Longford v Meath, Glennon Bros Pearse Park, 3.0

The cuts have healed, the scars remain – Meath’s 2018 Leinster SFC loss to Longford in Pearse Park flashes brightly as a warning for Colm O’Rourke’s young Royals. Longford were a competitive Division Three side then though, while Paddy Christie’s men failed to get out of Division Four this term. Meath should have enough to earn a quarter-final shot at Dublin, though whether that’s a prize or a punishment remains to be seen. Verdict: Meath

Westmeath v Wicklow, Laois Hire O’Moore Park, 3.30

When these sides met in Aughrim during the league, Westmeath ran out 1-13 to 0-10 winners. Dessie Dolan’s men progressed to win the Division Three title while Wicklow were relegated. Realistically, Wicklow’s immediate future is in the Tailteann Cup but for Westmeath the stakes are high – the Lake County are currently clasping the 16th spot in the All-Ireland SFC but they may ultimately need to progress to the Leinster final to keep that coveted entry card in their grasp. Verdict: Westmeath

Ulster SFC preliminary round

Monaghan v Cavan, St Tiernach’s Park, Clones, 4.0 (RTÉ & BBC)

This is the pick of the opening weekend’s games, the drumlin derby will pit two of the country’s top 16 sides against each other. Monaghan’s stay in Division One ended this season and there is a feeling Vinny Corey will be overseeing a period of transition – how long more will they be able to call upon Conor McManus and Darren Hughes? Possibly not beyond this summer. Cavan mixed the good with the bad in Division Two this season, but they did enough to finish third. There won’t be much between these sides, there rarely is, but as both are guaranteed Sam Maguire football, all is not lost for the loser. It’ll be tight in Clones, Monaghan by a whisker. Verdict: Monaghan

Connacht SFC quarter-finals

Leitrim v Sligo, Avant Money Páirc Seán MacDiarmada, 3.30

There is buzz around Leitrim football right now, they recently secured promotion from Division Four and played in the final at Croke Park last weekend while the county’s under-20s shocked Mayo in the Connacht championship on Wednesday night – though by playing in that midweek game Barry McNulty and Jack Foley are not available for the seniors this weekend. And Sligo are very much waiting in the proverbial long grass, after putting in a decent campaign in Division Three in which they finished fourth and just two points outside the promotion spots. Verdict: Sligo

New York v Mayo, Gaelic Park, 8.0 Irish time (GAAGO)

New York’s victory over Leitrim last season was one of the stories of the championship, but Mayo are not only forewarned and forearmed, they are also a significantly better team. New York haven’t had a competitive game all year so Kevin McStay’s Mayo will look to break the home side’s spirit early in the Bronx. Verdict: Mayo

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning is a sports journalist, specialising in Gaelic games, with The Irish Times