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GAA Preview 02/06/2023 – Ulster sides likely to provide tension

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GAA Preview 02/06/2023 – Saturday from 3:00pm

After a couple of weeks of jaw-dropping Munster hurling action, the football Championship takes centre stage this weekend with round two of the All-Ireland Senior Championship series.

The blow-for-blow unpredictability of those hurling clashes and the sheer excitement may be hard to replicate but, in its place, there are collisions set to provide intensity and nail-biting drama of a different sort.

Kerry face a test of character against Cork, while four Ulster terms serve up the most mouth-watering clashes of a busy weekend.

Kingdom come to take down Rebels

Cork v Kerry, Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Cork – Saturday 3rd June, 3.00pm

– Live on GAAGO

Munster rivals Cork and Kerry clash on Leeside on Saturday afternoon with the Kingdom no doubt still smarting after their loss to Mayo in Killarney last time out.

They were beaten by five points in the end, a first Championship loss in Fitzgerald Stadium in more than two decades, and it’s a setback that has seen Kerry displaced as favourites to retain the All-Ireland crown this summer – with Dublin now fancied to regain the Sam Maguire.

Kerry will still be fully expected to dispose of a Cork side that overcame Louth in their Group 1 opener. The lack of jeopardy in this group stage – three teams will advance from a section containing only four – means that even a shock second defeat for Kerry would be unlikely to prove fatal, but the Kingdom won’t want the added pressure of that scenario.

Cork will battle but ultimately should lack the quality to stay stride-for-stride with the Kerry’s star-turn forward line.

GAA Preview 02/06/2023 – Armagh’s frailties can be exposed

Tyrone v Armagh, Healy Park, Omagh – Saturday 3rd June, 7.00pm

– Live on RTE2

From south to north for the Saturday evening feature as Armagh make the trip to Omagh for a key clash with Tyrone.

The Red Hands were three-point losers against Galway in their opener, while Armagh rebounded from the heartache of the Ulster Final loss to Derry on penalties by edging out Westmeath 1-13 to 1-12 in the Athletic Grounds.

Dessie Dolan’s underdogs led by three at half-time and held that same advantage with ten minutes to play, before Conor Turbitt’s goal two minutes from time put Armagh ahead. They still required a fisted point from Andrew Murnin deep into stoppage time to get their win.

Kieran McGeeney’s side appeared to have done the hard work in that Clones showdown with Derry previously only to allow the reigning Ulster champions breathing space when they ought to have been going for the kill.

It cost them dearly at the end, with the dreaded penalty shootout won convincingly by Derry.

Tyrone came up shy in Salthill but that was a good outing for them and this is a game they’ll be targeting. Again, these two sides should expect to progress along with Galway, but Tyrone can become the latest side to expose Armagh’s inability to close out important wins.

With a strong home backing, the Red Hands can oblige on home soil against an Armagh team with a soft centre that belies their manager.

Derry entering fortress Ballybofey at the right time

Donegal v Derry, MacCumhaill Park, Ballybofey – Sunday 4th June, 4.00pm

– Live on RTE2

Group 4 of the All-Ireland Series could yet be one that provides a large slice of intrigue.

Derry were forced to come from behind at home to Monaghan last weekend before salvaging a draw, while Donegal’s opener in Clare a week previous provided them with a welcome first competitive win in four months.

Donegal showed some spirit in Ennis, having slumped to an early 0-05 to 0-01 deficit, it would have been easy to cave in.

The stalemate in Celtic Park last weekend, a game Monaghan will feel they should have won, opens up all sorts of possibilities in this tight group, dominated by the three Ulster teams.

Heading for Ballybofey on a warm June Bank Holiday Sunday afternoon to face Donegal in Championship battle would ordinarily be a thankless task but, despite overcoming Clare, the Tir Conaill men’s deficiencies are clear – on and off the field.

Derry got away with one last weekend – as they did in the Ulster showpiece in Clones – but at this moment in time they are a stronger unit than Donegal with a good few more proven matchwinners and that should ensure this likely tense battle on what is forecast to be a sun-kissed afternoon is won by the visiting side. For now, the Donegal fortress looks penetrable.

GAA Preview 02/06/2023 – Ulster sides likely to provide tension

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