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Wednesday 8 February 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Presseye/Lorcan Doherty/INPHO
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Rossies take another scalp, Tyrone looking dangerous - weekend GAA talking points
And how Mayo’s spring campaign could end up as a success, despite today’s defeat to Kerry.

1. Rossies enjoying life in the fast lane

FIRST THINGS FIRST. Roscommon will be playing Division 1 football next year. Their fourth-straight win in the top flight secured their status and as good as sealed their passage into the semi-finals.

Now onto the good stuff. They’ve achieved wins in Kerry, Cork and Donegal so far this season. And all against teams who’ve won an All-Ireland each since 2010. Despite being tipped for relegation at the beginning of the year, Roscommon have proved they belong in the top bracket.

Many expected them to start losing once other teams started to catch up on fitness levels, but it hasn’t happened. This young, fearless team scored 1-19 against Donegal in March. That is by no means an easy mean feat.

The biggest barrier to a county bridging the gap to the handful of elite sides is finding multiple forwards who take their chances. Roscommon have those in abundance.

On Friday night, their minors thrashed Mayo by 2-20 to 1-2 in the minor league and their U21s defeated Galway by three points in the championship.

Not a bad week to be a Rossie. The future is bright.

2. Mayo lose again

Donnchadh Walsh scores Kerry's second goal Andrew Paton / INPHO Andrew Paton / INPHO / INPHO

Stephen Rochford’s first league campaign in charge of Mayo has certainly been a baptism of fire.

Kerry secured their first league win over Mayo in five years, and the Connacht champions will feel game was there to be taken in the second-half. They had a man advantage after Kieran Donaghy’s red card and didn’t threaten Kerry’s lead. Plenty of negatives, but there are reasons for Mayo to be optimistic too.

If they’re to stay in this division, Mayo need results in their last two games. But then again, we might look back on this spring and say it was a good thing for Mayo. This team has been around the block and they’ve clearly placed a huge importance on finding another scoring forward before the championship.

Diarmuid O’Connor looks ready to take his game to another level this year. Are Evan Regan or Conor O’Shea ready to join him? If so then Mayo’s league campaign would be a success, regardless of where they place in Division 1.

A number of injured players and the Castlebar Mitchels contingent are still to return for Mayo. Don’t write them off.

3. Tyrone looking up

Tyrone guaranteed promotion back to Division 1 with two games to spare with a six point win over Meath in Navan.

A sprinkling of younger players has brought Mickey Harte’s team to life, complimenting the old guard who remain as effective as ever. The murmurs of Tyrone emerging as All-Ireland contenders get louder by the week.

Mickey Harte teams are delightful to watch when they play fast, counter-attacking football. Some of the more tired-looking Tyrone teams of the past decade defended in numbers but struggled in their transition to attack.

This team has no such worries.

A spring campaign in Division 2 has allowed Tyrone to quietly build confidence and a precise style of play.

Everything is falling into place for another tilt at Sam.

4. Dublin end Waterford’s two year unbeaten run

Eamon Dillon with Shane Fives Ken Sutton / INPHO Ken Sutton / INPHO / INPHO

Dublin snapped Waterford’s 11-game unbeaten run in Division 1A of the Allianz Hurling League and more importantly, made it three straight wins of their own.

Eamonn Dillon’s emergence for Dublin continued, and he laced over four excellent points. After a terrible performance in their season opener defeat to Tipperary, Ger Cunningham must be happy with how energetic and composed Dublin looked.

It was an off-colour performance by Waterford, despite the return of  Tadhg De Burca to the starting lineup.

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5. Tipperary avoid another defeat in a tight game

With seconds remaining, Tipperary were on the cusp of losing another game that was in the balance late on. But a magnificent equalising point by John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer rescued a deserved share of the spoils for Michael Ryan’s side.

Joe Canning would have been forgiven for thinking he’d won the game for Galway. He posted 1-11, including a delightful sideline that put the Tribesman ahead moments before the late intervention of Bubbles.

It was a fitting end to a pulsating encounter that produced no fewer than 44 scores.

6. Podge Collins makes his return

Padraic Collins Cathal Noonan / INPHO Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

Clare cantered to a 22-point win over Kerry to make it four wins from four in Division 1B of the Allianz Hurling League.

Far more important than the winning margin was Podge Collins’s return to the field. Collins return after a 10-month absence with a cruciate injury to help the Banner on their way.

The 2013 All-Star was making his first appearance for the Clare hurlers since he was sent off against Wexford in the 2014 championship. It was good to see him back.

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Two sent off as Kerry leave wasteful Mayo facing the drop

Relentless Roscommon defeat Donegal for fourth straight win

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