Kevin Cassidy

KEVIN CASSIDY: Plenty up for grabs

THE National League continues this week with an important round of fixtures before we head into Super Saturday next weekend.

Casting my mind back to my own playing days, St Patrick’s weekend and Easter weekend were two of the toughest for me in terms of sacrifice.

I am not sure what it was about it, but there was just something about grabbing the gear bag and heading off for an overnight stay in some hotel as the rest of the country was in celebratory mode.

The rest of the season never really bothered me that much in terms of sacrifice, but any time I did step out of line it normally happened around those two weekends for some reason.

Anyway, back to footballing matters and what a weekend we have in store. On Saturday, Tyrone and Monaghan and Galway and Dublin lock horns along with the big clash in the rugby. To say it’s a great day for the high stool would be a bit of an understatement.

The first clash is probably the biggest game of the weekend given where both teams are sitting at the minute.

This is a must win game for both of these as Monaghan head to Mayo in the last round of fixtures and Tyrone travel to headquarters so the chances of picking up two points next weekend are slim enough for both camps.

On form, and going on what I’ve seen to date, I would make Tyrone slight favourites for this one. Monaghan started well this year but have struggled badly since then. They have some key men missing and they will hope to have them back this weekend but for me they have struggled badly without Rory Beggan.

It’s not actually what he does in terms of kick-outs or big saves. It’s more the peace of mind and reassurance he gives to his defenders. When you have a player like that playing behind you then everything seems to happen more easily.

That bit of uncertainty can be the winning or the losing of big games. I said a few weeks back that I feel that Tyrone will have a big day this summer and I stand by that statement.

I have seen enough from them to suggest that once they have their full hand to pick from them they are a match for most teams.

A win for Monaghan or Tyrone at the weekend would do wonders for the confidence as they prepare to head into the last remaining fixture.

Looking at the fixtures this weekend, I will tip Tyrone, Dublin, Kerry and Derry to come through the games in the top flight.

Division Two is also shaping up nicely and with expected wins this week for Armagh and Donegal, we should have a final pairing at the top end of the table.

The bottom and as a little harder to predict but with their two recent results, Cork are setting a little more comfortably at the minute and they will be keen to keep that upwards trajectory moving.

They have a tough journey ahead of them to Meath as they are never easy beaten in their own backyard but the win for Cork here would really set them up for the rest of the season.

In Division Two I’ll go for wins for Armagh, Donegal, Louth and Cork.

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