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6 things to watch out for in this weekend's GAA action

Relegation fears, promotion prospects and the revenge factor in the Allianz Leagues.

Paul Curran of Tipperary dejected after last August’s All-Ireland semi-final.
Pic: INPHO/Donall Farmer

1. Revenge Factor

After championship exits, comes the opportunity for league redemption. That’s certainly applicable for a few counties this weekend.

The Tipperary hurling side’s mauling in last August’s All-Ireland semi-final will be on their minds when they face Kilkenny in Semple Stadium tomorrow.

Waterford suffered heartache of a different kind in the All-Ireland quarter-final when they lost to a Cork team that they meet tomorrow in the Fraher Field. It was a game they were in control of but they let slip in the closing stages.

In football Down entertain Mayo tonight in Newry and will hope to curb the haphazard defending that characterised their last eight loss in Croke Park last summer. And quarter-final defeats are something that Kerry can relate to as they head for Ballybofey to meet a  Donegal team whose strong start was telling last year.

2. Tipperary’s recovery

Eamon O’Shea didn’t dally in the wake of their heavy opening night loss to Cork. Injuries and rotation may have counted for three of his personnel changes but the Premier boss has still made five new alterations for tomorrow’s battle with the Cats.

On the wishlist will be a first-half that is better than the feeble offering in Páirc Uí Rinn, forwards that display some ball-winning capabilities and a response that contains some fire and brimstone.

3. Kildare can take a notable step

Consistency has been a tricky concept for Kildare in recent seasons. But 2013 has begun in a bright fashion with an O’Byrne Cup title followed by three league wins attached together.

Their young forwards are making a good impression, as evidenced by their fine work with the U21’s in Navan last Wednesday night. Tomorrow they collide with a Dublin team in a rich vein of form themselves. Just like Cork fostered confidence in the league breeding ground, Kildare can do something similar with a win tomorrow.


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Kildare’s Niall Kelly.
Pic: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

4. Clare need to capitalise on home advantage

After losing out to Waterford in a game that they could easily have won, Clare suddenly need to start picking up points in a competitive Division 1A. Facing All-Ireland finalists Galway tomorrow is a tough challenge yet points are essential considering the obstacles – Kilkenny, Tipperary and Cork – they still have to overcome.

Injuries do not help their situation with James McInerney their latest key man to be doubtful. U21 club commitments this weekend also make for a hectic schedule for the younger members of their squad.

5. Relegation fears

Four games into the Allianz Football League and battling relegation starts to become a reality for some counties. Big counties like Kerry and Down in Division 1 and Meath in Division 3 have endured tough spring campaigns to date.

Longford in Division 2 and Wicklow in Division 3 were both promoted last year and desperately want to avoid slipping back to where they came from. For all this weekend’s games are pivotal.

6. Promotion prospects

The converse is equally true after four games. A win this weekend and some counties can start believing they can jump up a division in April. In Division 2, Westmeath and Derry are starting to think that way.

In Division 3, the near neighbours of Fermanagh, Cavan and Monaghan are entertaining similar thoughts. And in Division 4 Limerick, the only county other than the top flight trio of Dublin, Kildare and Tyrone with a 100% record, are the clear pace-setters.

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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