Search icon


14th Jun 2013

Eircom Football Championship Preview

There’s football action in all four of the provinces this weekend and having been responsible for some pretty shabby predictions of late, JOE has a lot of catching up to do.

Conor Heneghan

There’s football action in all four of the provinces this weekend and having been responsible for some pretty shabby predictions of late, JOE has a lot of catching up to do.

A bit like Sex Panther by Odeon, the JOE ‘experts’ have been right about 60 per cent of the time, every time with our forecasts for the Football Championship so far, making us even more determined to make it a clean sweep with our predictions for games in all of the four provinces this weekend.

Thanks to the generous folk at eircom, if your own predictions prove on the money you can win yourself a pair of All-Ireland Final tickets through the win, lose or draw game on the Experience More website and you can also pit your wits against the lads in JOE Towers as well as fellow JOE readers in the JOE league by entering the code CTYVG.

You can take our leave our predictions as you see fit, but for the record, here’s how we think this weekend’s games are going to go down.

Wicklow v Meath

Wicklow might be resigned to playing Division Four football again next season but having already beaten Division Two opposition in the shape of Longford and with a boisterous home crowd behind them they won’t fear the challenge of the Royals in Aughrim on Saturday night.

With an eight-point victory over Wicklow in the league and a five-point victory in the Championship around this time last year, the formbook certainly favours Meath and there were signs during the league that they can have a right crack at the Leinster Championship, particularly given their position on the weaker side of the draw.

Mick O’Dowd feels he can do without the likes of Joe Sheridan (on the bench) and Cian Ward (not on the panel) but in the shape of Graham Reilly, Stephen Bray and the speedy Eamonn Wallace there’s enough talent there to rack up a big enough score to win this one with a few points to spare.

JOE Prediction: Meath

Fermanagh v Cavan

‘Security’ is a word that has been bandied about quite a lot in relation to this game given that the G8 summit is taking place not far from Brewster Park and it will surely also apply to the Fermanagh mindset given the damage wreaked by Martin Dunne and Eugene Keating in Cavan’s victory over Armagh first time out.

After that result, Cavan are slight favourites to prevail again on Sunday but Fermanagh are intimately acquainted with the Breffni men having beaten them in a feisty encounter in the league to gain a measure of revenge for the goal-laden qualifier defeat last year.

With Peter Canavan in charge and with Barack only around the corner, Fermanagh will be very much thinking ‘Yes We Can’ but on the back of recent underage success, Cavan are building something of substance under Terry Hyland and we think they’ll just about nick it on Sunday.

JOE Prediction: Cavan

Clare v Cork

No offence to Clare but there’s a very good chance that by Sunday afternoon there will have been four games played in the Munster Championship and not one of them will have reached the intensity of a league game, never mind competitive Championship fare.

Paul Kerrigan and David Tubridy 8/7/2012

Paul Kerrigan and company had it too easy against Clare in the Munster Final last year

Put simply, Cork are operating on another level to the Banner and even with Micko in charge, it would be a huge shock if Clare don’t go of the way of Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford already in the Munster Championship and succumb to the might of the big two down south.

With Paudie Kissane, Noel O’Leary, Aidan Walsh, Fintan Goold and Donncha O’Connor all on the bench, there is more than a hint of the dummy team that is oh so hot right now about Cork’s line-up, but at least it goes to show the strength in depth at Conor Counihan’s disposal. Hopefully Clare will put up a fight, but we can see Cork winning this one with seven or eight points to spare.

JOE Prediction: Cork

Mayo v Roscommon

Mayo have a hard time coping with hype at the best of times, but it appears to be folk outside rather than inside the county who are talking in excited tones about James Horan’s current crop and the man himself is doing his best to downplay expectations ahead of another local derby this weekend.

Mayo’s prominence in Connacht is in little doubt at the moment, but without Cillian O’Connor and with Andy Moran named only on the bench, a repeat of the drubbing dished out to Galway last month seems unlikely; forewarned is forearmed is a message John Evans will have been preaching to his troops in the last couple of weeks.

That said, the men in green and red are a very serious outfit at this stage and as well as having a defence and midfield to rival any in the country, they also possess a forward unit that, even without the aforementioned O’Connor and Moran, are very effective in forcing turnovers in the opposition defence and capable of racking up big scores, as was evidenced against Galway and against Down and Dublin in the All-Ireland series last year.

There are a lot of survivors from the Roscommon team that came within a point of beating Mayo in the Connacht Final two years ago, but the likes of Sean McDermott, Karol Mannion, Cathal Cregg and Senan Kilbride will have to be firing on all cylinders to make a decent fist of it in McHale Park.

Your humble scribe may be looking at this one through green and red tinted glasses, but we see Mayo winning this one by four points or more.

JOE Prediction: Mayo