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Allianz Football League previews

Division One

Saturday March 7

Dublin v Tyrone

Sunday March 8

Donegal v Monaghan

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Cork v Kerry

Derry v Mayo

IN the past decade Dublin and Tyrone would certainly feature high on any list being compiled about those treating this competition seriously. 

For that reason alone Saturday’s game at Croke Park is worth watching.  Dublin have only taken two points from a possible six, Tyrone have gleaned three so suddenly you sense the intensity levels will go up a notch.

Losing to Kerry, regardless of what time of the year it is, hurts Dublin.  Tyrone will bring appetite and a diligent plan of action to the Jones Road which will make this one interesting.

Monaghan lost their composure in Castlebar as an Aidan O’Shea inspired Mayo wreaked havoc.  Donegal away is next on the agenda which represents an equally tough task.  Donegal ended Cork’s unbeaten record, and Rory Gallagher knows another victory would go a long way to securing their top flight status which ultimately is the first mission of spring.

When Cork thumped Kerry towards the end of the League in 2014 it apparently was the sign of a Kingdom decline.  By September that assertion was well and truly rubbished.  Cork, seeking to acquire confidence and momentum again, have made a satisfactory start to their campaign; so have Kerry.

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Despite a system failure against Tyrone sandwiched either side were a pair of fine Mayo victories over Kerry and Monaghan.  Derry were disappointed to only take a draw from their trip to Omagh.

Division Two

Saturday March 7

Meath v Westmeath

Cavan v Kildare

Sunday March 8

Laois v Roscommon

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Down v Galway

One of the quiet and almost unheralded success stories in the early part of the year has been the manner in which Westmeath have gained belief.  Having suffered in 2014 Westmeath are now dashing around again.  The short trip to Navan will be enough to keep them grounded, but progress is being made - for now that is sufficient.

Cavan lost a wretched contest against Down which dampened down their enthusiasm.  Kildare, anxious to avoid a second successive relegation, will be extremely motivated.

With three points pocketed from two matches Roscommon will skip into O’Moore Park brimful of optimism.  Westmeath and Cavan have already outfoxed Laois, who know improvement is needed.

Kevin Walsh’s Galway will expect a stern examination at Pairc Esler.  The maroons impressed when fending off Meath and Westmeath’s respective challenges.  Down eked out a win over Cavan, it wasn’t a pretty 70 minutes, but the spoils were garnered: which is what matters most of all.

Division Three

Saturday March 7

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Tipperary v Clare

Armagh v Fermanagh

Sunday March 8

Sligo v Louth

Wexford v Limerick

A top of the table joust involving Armagh and Fermanagh will give the chasing pack an opportunity to make up ground.  Armagh have been solid and sensible thus far adequately dealing with some tricky fixtures.

The Munster derby between Tipperary and Clare could be a decent match too.  Clare racked up a splendid victory over Sligo offering another glimpse of their potential.

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Surprisingly Sligo have slipped to three defeats in a row, while the loser between Wexford and Limerick will be in the relegation mire where nobody wants to be in March.

Division Four

Sunday March 8

Antrim v London

Longford v Waterford

Carlow v Wicklow

Offaly v Leitrim

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It proved to be a bitterly disappointing Saturday afternoon for London at Ruislip.  So competitive despite being beaten by Offaly and Carlow London just didn’t get going against Longford, who have introduced a few new promising faces.  Jack Sheedy’s dynamic team looked primed to challenge Offaly for top spot.

Injuries have disrupted London, but Paul Coggins will be demanding a plucky performance at Ballycastle.  Coggins has proven his ability to implement an organised system which frustrates opponents so London will be striving for an encouraging first quarter.

With five points registered Turlough O’Brien’s Carlow will be anxious to stay in touch with Offaly, who must stay cool when Leitrim visit Tullamore.