Last weekend we were treated to some more brilliant Football and Hurling League Action.
In my last league preview, I tipped-up 12 winners, which included a 15/2 draw between Offaly and Longford in Division 3 of the National Football Leagues.
This weekend, full concentration turns to the big ball as the hurlers take a weekend off.
This means that both live games this weekend are in the NFL.
Monaghan travel to Croke Park on Saturday evening for a 7pm throw-in with Dessie Farrell’s Dublin, a game that is live on RTÉ2.
On Sunday, Tyrone host old foes Kerry in Healy Park, Omagh. This games is live on TG4 @ 2pm.
NFL Division 1 – Dublin v Monaghan (Throw-in @ 7pm, live on RTÉ2, on 08/02):
Monaghan’s league record against the Dubs has been very good in recent years when you compare it to the other Division 1 counties. Last year they beat Jim Gavin’s Dublin by 3 points in the National League opener.
The Farney county have started pretty positively this season back under the stewardship of Seamus “Banty” McEnenaney. They had a narrow defeat against Galway in Salthill, where they had chances to win on the first day out. Last Sunday they recorded a very impressive 4-point victory over Tyrone.
Conor McCarthy was in sublime form against the Red Hand Men. He scored 4 points from play and Monaghan will be hoping for more of the same from the Scotstown man against the Dubs on Saturday evening.
— The GAA (@officialgaa) February 4, 2020
Dessie Farrell has seamlessly settled into his role as Dublin boss. On the face of it, he has changed very little in terms of the Dubs’ style of play, and of course he doesn’t need to.
It has been the old reliables that have impressed me most for Dublin so far this season. Ciaran Kilkenny has picked up two “Man of the Match” awards in two games with typically brilliant performances.
Dean Rock is another man who has kicked off his 2020 campaign in fine form. His goal last weekend against Mayo was an unbelievable finish.
Dean Rock take a bow 🤯
— eir Sport (@eirSport) February 1, 2020
Kieran Hughes will be a big loss for Monaghan on Saturday evening after he received a straight red against Tyrone.
However, Monaghan are going for their third league win in three years against the Dubs, so they seem to be able to raise their game when they play the All-Ireland Champions.
I think Dublin will get the job done and win a relatively tight game, although, for me, Monaghan with a 6-point head-start would be a good addition to your accumulators.
Verdict: Monaghan +6 @ 4/7
NFL Division 1 – Tyrone v Kerry (Throw-in @ 2pm, live on TG4, on 09/02):
Tyrone received a major boost this week with the news that Cathal McShane has decided not to pursue a career in the AFL with the Adelaide Crows.
McShane is a massive part of Mickey Harte’s plans, and at the edge of the square he is a serious weapon for Tyrone in terms of the offensive mark. It will be interesting to see what part McShane plays on Sunday.
Tyrone, of course, will be fully aware that they will need to keep watchful eyes on the likes of David Clifford, Paul Geaney, James O’Donoghue and Killian Spillane, who are all in brilliant form.
All four of these players were pivotal in Kerry’s narrow victory over Galway last Saturday evening. The Kingdom showed real character to come from 3 points down in injury time to win by a point.
"Sin é an scór buacach ansin tráthnóna; ag teacht ó bhróg Killian Spillane sa nóiméad deireanach!"🔥
— Spórt TG4 (@SportTG4) February 4, 2020
Cathal McShane’s return to the Tyrone side is certainly a welcome boost for them ahead of this game on Sunday as they were very flat last Sunday against Monaghan. However, I can’t see them improving enough to beat Kerry, even with home advantage.
I fancy Kerry to have too much firepower for Tyrone and to go up to Omagh and collect the two points.
Verdict: Kerry @ 8/13