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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 22 November, 2018

Two to watch: the National Football League games you really shouldn’t miss today

Here’s our preview of this afternoon’s must-see games.

Darran O'Sullivan starts for Kerry today.
Darran O'Sullivan starts for Kerry today.

Here we go again: Cork v Kerry

GARDAI HAVE CONTACTED Cork GAA to inform them of an increased Garda presence for Sunday’s mouth-watering double bill and warned attendees to “beware of the clampers”. This is starting to feel a bit like summer.

These two sides could not be closer. They drew in an epic encounter in 2009 having not met in the league that year (Cork were in division 2). Cork won the replay comfortably in Pairc Ui Chaoimh, but were undone by their rivals in that year’s All-Ireland final by four points. A goal separated them in their league fixture in 2010 with Cork gaining some revenge only to be beaten in Munster by a single point in Fitzgerald, having played out a thrilling draw in Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Come September all was forgotten with Cork lifting Sam.

Back to the league last year and Cork won it, again by the minimum: a point the difference in Tralee. Kerry then had three to spare in Fitzgerald to claim Munster. Cork three, Kerry three, a pair of draws and an All-Ireland each. Still with us? Cork are waiting in this year’s Munster semi-final for Kerry should they get over Tipp in the quarter-final. If there is a more consistently brilliant rivalry in modern football, I would like to know about it. Sunday is the latest chapter.

Kerry were a little rattled by the news that Bohan will undergo surgery after damaging cartilage in their demolition of Donegal last Sunday. That opens the door for O’Mahony to stake a claim in the back three. Kerry will likely go man for man against Cork so expect a few different combinations defending the edge of the square. If O’Mahony struggles they can always drop the rejuvenated Brosnan back. Walsh looks likely to start again at full-forward for Cork, but if they are overrun in the middle, expect a reshuffle from both managers. Tomas O’Shea will warm the bench. Not a bad option should young Crowley find it all a bit too much.

Cork keep the same line-up from last weekend with the added bonus of Cadogan on the bench. The dual star going with the big ball for the weekend.

Goalkeeper Brendan Kealy spoke of the intensity in Kerry’s training during the week. Cork will want to put on a good show for what should be a sizeable crowd. And so many finishers on both sides should ensure a high-scoring game. An old-school man to man shoot out. They wouldn’t have it any other way. Just don’t get clamped.

Cork;  A Quirke, R Carey, E O’Mahony, E Cotter, N O’Leary, G Canty, P Kissane, A O’Connor, P O’Neill, F Goold, P Kerrigan, P Kelly, Colm O’Neill, A Walsh, D O’Connor.

Kerry; B Kealy; M O Se, A O’Mahony, K Young; P Crowley, E Brosnan, B McGuire; A Maher, B Sheehan; P Galvin, Darran O’Sullivan, Declan O’Sullivan; BJ Keane, , K Donaghy, P Curtin.

A Blast From The Past: Galway v Tyrone

Galway last played Tyrone in 2010 in a league fixture dominated by a lively Mathew Clancy. Tyrone were undone that day in Tuam, with a result that ultimately led to their relegation from the top division. They haven’t been back at the top table since then but are looking odds on for promotion this time round. They remain unbeaten and welcome back Cavanagh for his first start of the year. Tyrone are a different beast with Cavanagh firing on all cylinders - Galway beware.

Cavanagh will be partnered by Murphy, who makes a return after an ankle injury sidelined him for their last two games. Mathew Donnelly comes into the half-forward line in place of Patrick McKneice. Kyle Coney keeps his place after a good showing against Westmeath. Red Hand boss Mickey Harte continues his goalkeeper rotation with Curran replacing McConnell. Not that they need it. Tyrone are yet to concede a goal and are head and shoulders above the rest of the division.

Galway will need their shooting boots on but will have to do it without Sean Armstrong. The Salthill-Knocknacarra man, plagued by hamstring injuries throughout his career, has suffered a reoccurrence ruling him out of the rest of the league. Its a hard pill to swallow given the devastating news of Meehan’s injury just a few weeks ago. That means scoring responsibility will be firmly on Nicky Joyce’s shoulders. He was in great form in their win over Meath. Mickey Harte will have taken note.

If Galway turn up this could be a real cracker. A throwback to the heady days of the naughties when both of these teams oozed talent and medals. Galway still play with 6 out and out forwards and tend to throw caution to the wind. If it is close down the home stretch expect Mickey to use a very strong bench. That should see them through. The young guns will need to hold their nerve though. Tuam’s crumbling terraces can be a very daunting place for the uninitiated.

Tyrone; J Curran, A McCrory, J McMahon, PJ Quinn , C McCarron, P Harte, D McCaul, M Murphy, S Cavanagh, R McNabb, M Donnelly, M Donnelly, K Coney, M Penrose, O Mulligan.

Galway; Faherty, K McGrath, F Hanley, K Kelly, G Bradshaw, D Blake, G O’Donnell, G Higgins, J Bergin, G Sice, D Buke, N Coleman, N Joyce, P Conroy, D Cummins.

Read: It’s Sunday, so here are 12 of the best sports pictures from the past 7 days>

Read: The Sunday Papers: some of the week’s best sportswriting>

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About the author:

Emmett McNamara

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