Sport | 2 months ago

The 2017 Football Championship is set to be a blockbuster.

The All-Ireland Senior Football Championship kicked off with Sligo defeating New York two weeks ago, but the real action begins this weekend with three Leinster Championship clashes, two Ulster first round matches and a Connacht Championship clash in Castlebar.

Football minds around the country boggle with more questions than answers as the Championship wheels are about to be set firmly into motion this weekend.

Can this Dublin side complete an unprecedented three in a row? Can Kerry repeat their league heroics and down the Dubs again? Can Mayo finally break their All-Ireland duck? How far away are perennial contenders Tyrone, Donegal and Monaghan? Will the youthful sides of Galway and Tipperary, both league-winners, be able to make the step up to the top table?

Whatever happens, it promises to be entertaining. Excitement levels have reached fever pitch throughout the country as the sunny summer Championship days that we have all eagerly anticipated since September of last year (Ocotber if you count the All-Ireland Final replay) have finally arrived.

Several questions will be answered in the coming months following an exciting end to inter-county football in 2016, and a league renewal to rival all others on both the entertainment and competitiveness scales this year.

Everybody has their own thoughts, opinions and takes on these endless questions, here's your chance to make your predictions.

We have made ours.

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Connacht Championship winners, as predicted by the SportsJOE writers:

Colm Parkinson: Mayo.
Conor Heneghan: Mayo.
Mikey Stafford: Galway.
Alan Loughnane: Galway.
Darragh Berry: Mayo.
Pat McCarry: Galway.
Dion Fanning: Mayo.
Niall McIntyre: Galway.
Darragh Culhane: Mayo.
Conan Doherty: Mayo.

So if Mayo don't emerge victorious from Connacht, half of our office will have to take a good long look at themselves.

Have your say here.

Leinster Championship

Colm Parkinson: Dublin.
Conor Heneghan: Dublin.
Mikey Stafford: Dublin.
Alan Loughnane: Dublin.
Darragh Berry: Dublin.
Pat McCarry: Dublin.
Dion Fanning: Dublin.
Niall McIntyre: Dublin.
Darragh Culhane: Dublin.
Conan Doherty: Dublin.

If Dublin don't come out on top in Leinster, every single office member should be out on a limb and looking for a new job.

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What do you think?

Munster Championship

Colm Parkinson: Kerry.
Conor Heneghan: Kerry.
Mikey Stafford: Kerry.
Alan Loughnane: Kerry.
Darragh Berry: Kerry.
Pat McCarry: Kerry.
Dion Fanning: Kerry.
Niall McIntyre: Tipperary.
Darragh Culhane: Kerry.
Conan Doherty: Kerry.

I was the only one who didn't go for Kerry here, staying loyal to my Tipperary roots. My choice might be slightly patriotic but Liam Kearns's army have pulled off giantkillings before.

Am I off the mark?

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Ulster Championship

Colm Parkinson: Monaghan.
Conor Heneghan: Tyrone.
Mikey Stafford: Donegal.
Alan Loughnane: Tyrone.
Darragh Berry: Tyrone.
Pat McCarry: Tyrone.
Dion Fanning: Donegal.
Niall McIntyre: Monaghan.
Darragh Culhane: Monaghan.
Conan Doherty: Monaghan.

Judging by our range of choices, Ulster is undoubtedly the most competitive provincial Championship.

Will the Red Hand county retain their crown? Or will Donegal or Monaghan get their hands on the Anglo-Celt cup again?

Who's going to win it?

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All-Ireland Championship

When the provincial Championships sort themselves out, who is going to progress to take the most coveted honour of all?

Colm Parkinson: Dublin.
Conor Heneghan: Dublin.
Mikey Stafford: Kerry.
Alan Loughnane: Dublin.
Darragh Berry: Dublin.
Pat McCarry: Dublin.
Dion Fanning: Kerry.
Niall McIntyre: Kerry.
Darragh Culhane: Mayo.
Conan Doherty: Dublin.

We've been fairly boring here, do you think it will turn out to be more than the two-horse race that we expect?

Footballer of the year

Colm Parkinson: David Moran.
Conor Heneghan: Brian Fenton.
Mikey Stafford: David Moran.
Alan Loughnane: Paddy Durcan.
Darragh Berry: Ciaran Kilkenny.
Pat McCarry: Cian O'Sullivan.
Dion Fanning: Paul Geaney.
Niall McIntyre: David Moran.
Darragh Culhane: Diarmuid O'Connor.
Conan Doherty: Philly McMahon.

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Who is the cream of our footballing crop? Who is going to dazzle the defences of Ireland or stifle these potential dazzlers?

Last year Lee Keegan took the spoils and was chosen as the best of the best.

The 2017 League was littered with a plentiful supply of extraordinary individual performances, who will maintain this form in the championship?

Have your voice heard here.

All of these questions and more will be answered in the coming months, we simply can't wait.

While you're here...

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Watch Wooly, Lar Corbett, Ronan O'Gara, Dion Fanning, Conor Sketches and Carlow's Endline Challenge on SportsJOE Live Episode 19.


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