Kevin Cassidy

KEVIN CASSIDY: Championship….at long last

WE will witness the first knockout championship games of the year in the coming days, bringing the buzz and excitement with it.

Yes, last weekend’s action did have a bit of spice but this weekend should see things really catch fire. It’s win or bust for everybody.

Derry did just about enough to get over the challenge of Westmeath on Saturday in Newry. Their reward from Monday’s draw is a mouth-watering trip to Castlebar to take on Mayo.

This game should be a real humdinger given the fact that both of these teams would have been in the conversation of potential winners at the start of the year.

Mayo impressed last weekend against the Dubs and although, if we are being completely honest, they got at least two soft frees towards the end to bring them back into the game.

Nonetheless, they will draw confidence from that performance and they will fancy their chances of putting Derry to the sword on their own patch this Saturday.

For Derry, it really is all or nothing this weekend because if they do not turn in a massive performance there is no doubt that Mayo will put an end to their campaign. So it will be interesting to see if they managed to get things back on track over the last few weeks.

From the Derry point of view, this game is not even about looking at it tactically or potential match-ups.

For me, it all really boils down to whether they have it in the stomach to turn things on its head and get the season back on track or not. Come Saturday evening, we will all of those answers.

Tyrone welcome Roscommon on Saturday evening in what should be another cracking contest because both of these teams will fancy their chances of progression.

I fancy Tyrone to build on last week’s momentum because at stages last week they were really impressive.

I’ve said here on numerous occasions that I feel that Tyrone will have a big say in this year‘s championship. Should they get over Roscommon at the weekend, there is no team that would want to meet them.

On their day, they are a match for anyone in the country so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Monaghan will have to improve significantly on what they have shown us to date if they have any chance of overcoming Galway.

The Tribesmen are building nicely and getting their full panel back on the pitch just at the right time. Galway perhaps should have topped the group so Pádraic Joyce and his players will be confident enough of getting the job done in Salthill on Saturday afternoon. Based on the form of both teams, there are very few who would argue with that.

The last game on Sunday sees Louth go up against Cork. Although the Wee County have made great strides over the last few seasons, and have continued it this year, I just think that Cork might have too much for them.

I think that Louth will make it competitive and it will be a tight game, but Cork’s experience at this level should tell towards the latter stages and I expect them to run out winners by three or four points.

So, it’s prediction time. Cork, Galway, Tyrone and, as you are waiting for it, Derry by two.

I just think that with all that these players have built and been through over the last four years, there has to be a kick left in them. I’m backing them to turn up on Saturday evening.

One big win puts you right back in the mix and I can just see it already – Donegal v Derry part two in Croke Park.

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere


Gaelic Life is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 10-14 John Street, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, N. Ireland, BT781DW