TESCO NFL Round 7 Previews

Laois v Tyrone - TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship Quarter-Final


The TESCO National Football Leagues reach their conclusion this weekend with plenty at stake in the top 3 Divisions as counties scrap for promotion and to avoid relegation. Tyrone and Laois stands out as the key fixture in Division 1 as the two teams meet to decide who will drop to Division 2. Dublin travel to Cork needing to win whilst only a win will guarantee a semi final place for Monaghan and Kerry when they meet whilst Galway need to avoid defeat against great rivals, Mayo to secure their passage.


TESCO NFL Division 1 Round 7


Sunday, April 12th


Mayo v Galway, Ballina Stephenites, 2:00pm (G. Chapman)


Mayo will face Galway in Elvery’s McHale Park but they will not have anything at stake as they are already out of the running for the knock out stages of the league. However, despite this, they will certainly give this fixture their all, especially with the familiar maroon jerseys in opposition. Mayo have not defeated Galway since the Division 2 Final in 2012 and they will be desperate to get a win over Galway ahead of their Connacht Final meeting later in the Summer. Galway have not yet secured their progress to the final so they will need to get a result away to Mayo to avoid depending on results elsewhere. Galway were impressive as they defeated Monaghan in the previous round with Annette Clarke and Edel Concannon supplying the goals. Galway have been particularly impressive in their first season in the top Division producing very consistent performances throughout. Mayo are always capable of producing a big performance, as Dublin found out to their cost, but the greater urgency should see Galway claim victory.


Kerry v Monaghan, Castleisland Desmond’s, 2:00pm (K. Delahunty)


This is a match that has the potential to be the best of the weekend. The teams are level on 12 points, two points clear of Dublin but knowing that a Dublin win coupled with defeat will see Dublin qualify for the semi-finals in the losers place. The only way for either county to guarantee their passage through is by claiming victory this weekend. Monaghan slipped up against Galway in Round 6 but they have definitely improved throughout the season to date. The return to form of both Ciara McAnespie and Cathriona McConnell have been vital for Monaghan but there is a worry over the fitness of Caoimhe Mohan who appeared to be injured at the end of their last game but has also struggled to rediscover her best form, should she click into top gear it could be the boost that Monaghan need. Kerry have looked extremely impressive this season. Kerry have slipped up twice in this campaign but are flawless at home so they will draw confidence from this record before the visit of their play off rivals. Cáit Lynch is a superb leader of what is a very tight Kerry defence whilst Bernie Breen numbers amongst the best midfielders in the country. This match has so much at stake that it has all the hall marks of a draw although home advantage will still make Kerry favourites to claim the points necessary to progress to the semi finals.


Tyrone v Laois, Clanabogan Park, 2:00pm (G. Corrigan)


This is the match of the round. Tyrone and Laois are embroiled in a relegation battle that has resulted in this winner takes all decider. Neither county have picked up any points to date in the campaign as both have shipped some heavy defeats along the way. However, they will both remain confident of recording the victory that they need to retain their Division 1 status. Tyrone, as the hosts, will probably be favourites to win and they certainly have plenty of talent to achieve this win. Gemma Begley is their star turn and numbers amongst the very best forwards in the country, Neamh Woods is a great captain and leader whilst Joline Donnelly is a real threat. Laois are travelling to Tyrone having scored less and conceded more than Tyrone to date in the league but they know that those stats will go out the window in a match that will have a real championship feel to it. Ciamh Dollard is one of the best custodians in the business and if the 2014 All Star goalkeeper can keep a clean sheet it will certainly aid her sides cause. Big performances will be needed from Maggie Murphy, Sarah Quigley and Noirin Kirwan to help fill the leadership void created by the retirement of Tracey Lawlor. This match is very close to call and will surely go right down to the wire but Tyrone are the home team and they have shown more potential for improvement in recent matches which might give them the edge they need.


Cork v Dublin, Cork IT, 3:00pm (S. Mulvihill)


This was the pairing in last year’s Division 1 and All Ireland Finals and is always one of the most anticipated clashes in the fixture list. Cork have already qualified for the semi finals in typical fashion as they have ground out important victories without ever hitting the heights of which they are more than capable. Any chance of complacency from the champions will surely be banished by their squad list which is 36 strong and boasts some incredible talent, competition for places alone will ensure that every player will be giving their all. Dublin know what they need to do on Sunday. Simply put, they have to win or they will not reach the knock out stages. There was a further blow for the 2014 Runners Up as they lost All Star goalkeeper, Cliodhna O’Connor, to retirement this week although she has not played since defeat to Cork in Croke Park last September. This is a Dublin side that is shorn of several key players through retirement and unavailability but the signs are there that a new era is just beginning. Olwen Carey, Sarah McCaffrey, Eabha Routledge, Lucy Collins and Nicole Owens have all taken the chance presented to them and are now becoming more settled at senior level. Lyndsey Davey has taken on much of the scoring burden left by the departure of Sinead Aherne whilst Mollie Lamb has returned from injury with Fiona Hudson returning to the panel. There are plenty of reasons to be cheerful in the capital and a win over Cork would certainly give them plenty of encouragement regardless of whether they reach the semi finals. However, it is still folly to bet against a Cork side that are at home although Dublin will still fancy their chances of pulling off a surprise win and crashing the semi final party.


*Should Dublin defeat Cork, Monaghan and Kerry draw and Mayo defeat Galway it will result in a four way tie for 2nd position. In this event a draw will take place with Kerry, Monaghan, Dublin and Galway entered into the draw. The first team drawn will be deemed to have finished second. The next team drawn will be deemed to have finished third and the remaining two will play off with the winner being awarded 4th position. The semi finals will be 1st v 4th and 2nd v 3rd.


TESCO NFL Division 2 Round 7


Armagh v Down, Silverbridge, 12:00pm (Y.Duffy)


In previous years this has been one of the most anticipated fixtures in any year. However, Down have had a very poor campaign that has seen them cut adrift at the bottom of the table and already relegated. On the other side you have Armagh who have already qualified for the semi final and will confirm their 3rd place finish with a victory at home over their Ulster rivals and that is something that they should achieve.


Clare v Kildare, Kilmihil, 2:00pm (S. Joy)


Both teams go into this tie knowing they are secure in Division 2 and that they are out of the running for promotion. There is little at stake but this is the last time either county will have a competitive fixture before their championship openers so competition for places should ensure that both sets of players will give their all. This is an evenly balanced tie but Clare should edge it with home advantage.


Donegal v Westmeath, Carn Domhnach, 2:30pm (J. Niland)


These two sides will be planning for future meetings as both have guaranteed their place in the knock out stages. Donegal have been invincible at home and there is no reason to expect that to change this weekend. Westmeath are a good team and will want to rattle their Ulster rivals ahead of a possible semi final meeting but a win away would be a surprise.


Cavan v Meath, Kingspan Breffni Park, 2:00pm (D. McEnery)


Cavan, like Donegal, have already qualified for the semi finals of Division 2. They are unbeaten and will already consider their league campaign to be a great success. Meath might be disappointed with their campaign but considering that they have a new manager in Diane O’Hora a transitional time was always to be expected. Meath will want to build for the championship so testing themselves against a strong Cavan team is a challenge they will relish. Cavan should win at home but Meath will not be a pushover.


*Should both Donegal and Cavan be victorious or if they both draw they will finish level at the top of the table. In this event, and considering their head to head match finished level at 2-10 apiece a play off will be required to decide who finished first. That play off is scheduled for April 19th. The winner of the play off will be declared first place finishers and will play the team that finishes 4th with the play off losers finishing 2nd and playing the 3rd placed finishers in the second semi final.


TESCO NFL Division 3 Round 7


Longford v Tipperary, Pearse Park, 2:00pm (G. Carmody)


This is a meeting of the bottom 2 teams in the division and is a straight relegation play off. A win for Longford will force a play off between the same two teams, should Tipperary avoid defeat, it will be Longford who make the drop. Longford have lost every game to date but they have not had an incentive like this before. Tipperary will be the favourites to win this match but they will have to produce a big performance to avoid a defeat.


Roscommon v Wexford, Kiltoom, 2:00pm (G. McMahon)


Roscommon have exceeded expectations in their first year in Division 3 and have certainly shown that they are more than able to compete at this level. This weekend they meet Wexford secure in the knowledge that they have qualified for the play offs. Wexford have nothing to play for as they are safe in Division 3 and out of the running for promotion. Wexford have made great strides this year and are in good shape ahead of the championship but they might struggle away to Roscommon this weekend.


Leitrim v Waterford, Ballinamore, 2:00pm (F. Keane)


This top of the table clash will decide who takes top spot and will play the 4th places finishers in the semi finals. Leitrim were expected to at least reach the semi finals and they have fulfilled that requirement but they will be keen to lay down a marker to Waterford ahead of a potential final meeting in May. Waterford are the only unbeaten team in the division and have been impressive throughout. They will not want to slip up now against a team that will be one of their biggest rivals in the championship later in the year. This match is impossible to call, home advantage might edge it for Leitrim but a Waterford win would not be a surprise.


Fermanagh v Sligo, Derrygonnelly, 2:00pm (C. Dourneen)


Fermanagh have had a topsy turvy year in Division 3. They were amongst the favourites for promotion but never quite found their form and now find themselves adrift in the division for a further year. Sligo have qualified to the semi finals and will want to ensure that they get the win that sees them avoid facing off against the team that finished first. Fermanagh are the home side and have a point to prove against a team that will be a rival later in the championship so they might edge this clash.

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