Kevin Cassidy

KEVIN CASSIDY: Moving up a gear

WE’RE back in action this weekend as the third round of the National Football League takes place.

Last weekend would have served as a well-deserved and welcomed break for the players. With the new season shaped as it is, please guys are pretty much flat out from November time so a week off at this time of year is very welcome.

The professionalism that goes into it these set-ups now is second to none, so after small breaks like this in the season, you normally see an increase in terms of where the teams are at physically as they manoeuvre their way towards peak fitness.

There are a lot of interesting fixtures on the cards this weekend, but I suppose what particularly grabs the attention are the clashes between Kerry and Mayo and Derry and Monaghan.

Starting with Kerry and Mayo on Saturday night, and no matter what time of the year this game is played at, it always seems to serve up a classic.

These two teams will go at each other, and I’m looking forward to seeing in particular how Mayo will shape up this weekend because I expect Kerry to be up a notch or two since we saw them last.

The all-Ulster clash of Derry and Monaghan should also be an interesting encounter. With Derry sitting pretty at the top of the table after two wins from two the pressure is all on the Farney men this weekend.

Seeing that Mickey Harte has maximum points after the first two games, I expect the Glen boys to get a bit of a rest this weekend and we may not see any of them in action.

After an impressive opening night win against Dublin, Monaghan will be keen to grab another two points because when we get into round four and round five, that’s when the pressure really ramps up. If Monaghan can secure another two points this weekend, it would go a long way to easing their worries towards the end of the campaign.

In Division Two Donegal are a little bit like Derry as they sit comfortably at the top with maximum points following two wins from two.

This Saturday, Jim McGuinness‘s men welcome Fermanagh to O’Donnell Park. Fermanagh have been showing well of late so when the sides meet once again in Letterkenny, it should be a tough game for the hosts. Donegal will need to be up for what will be an interesting battle with two crucial points on offer.

The fact that both sides are unbeaten after the opening two rounds of the league will add additional spice to this game. Fermanagh had a good win against Kildare, scoring 2-10, and in their first game they drew with Colm O’Rourke’s Meath.

They haven’t conceded much in those games so Donegal will be keen to change that at the weekend.

Another win should push Donegal towards Division One again when you consider their remaining fixtures.

Jim will be hoping to start getting a settled team on the pitch now as they turn towards the business end of things.

If you fancy an accumulator this week, stick Kerry, Dublin, Donegal, Derry and Cavan down on the docket!

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