FOOTBALL: Previews: Semi-final slots on offer in Round 2 LIDL NFL re-fixtures
Compiled by Jackie Cahill
CONNACHT rivals Galway and Mayo will look to get their LIDL NFL Division 1A Round 2 fixture played at the second attempt on Sunday.
This game was one of five games across the four Divisions to fall foul of weather conditions last weekend.
The re-fixture now takes on added significance as victory for Mayo would send them through to the semi-finals.
In Division 2A, Kerry can book a place in the last four if they beat Clare, while Armagh would advance from Division 2B if they can overcome the challenge of Cavan.
In Division 3A, Down have the chance to make the knockout stages when they travel to Sligo, while the winners of Longford v Kildare will also guarantee themselves a semi-final slot.
All fixtures throw in at 2pm – and can be viewed by accessing the LGFA’s subscription portal: https://page.inplayer.com/lgfaseason2022/
All fixtures 2pm unless stated
Sunday February 27:
Lidl NFL Division 1A:
Galway v Mayo; Tuam Stadium
With this fixture rained off last weekend, Donegal took the chance to cement top spot with victory over Westmeath.
That now leaves the Division 1A table in a position where victory for Mayo at Tuam Stadium would see them join Donegal in the top-flight semi-finals.
A win for Galway, however, would put the cat among the pigeons and leave the pool delicately poised ahead of the final round of games.
Galway lost out to Donegal by three points in their opening game, while Mayo enjoyed a big win over Westmeath.
There’s plenty riding on this one as Galway stick with the same team that was named for the postponed fixture, meaning starts for Fabienne Cooney and Linda Booth, with Shauna Brennan and Kate Slevin dropping to the bench.
Mayo are unchanged after the Westmeath game, as the sides prepare for a repeat of the 2021 TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship quarter-final, which Mayo won by four points.
Galway (v Mayo): A Griffin; S Molloy, E Gavin, A Ní Cheallaigh; K Geraghty, C Cooney, F Cooney; A Davoren, S Ní Loingsigh (capt.); L Coen, M Seoighe, L Finnegan; A O’Rourke, A Trill, L Booth.
Mayo (v Galway): A Tarpey; É Ronayne (capt.), S El Massry, S Lally; T O’Connor, F McHale, N Hession; S Cafferky, A Geraghty; S Mulvihill, L Cafferky, S Howley; R Byrnes, C Whyte, M Reilly.
Lidl NFL Division 2A:
Clare v Kerry; Doonbeg
Laois will be keeping a close eye on this one as they sit pretty at the head of affairs in Division 2A on six points.
Victory for Kerry over Clare would see the Kingdom join the O’Moore County in the semi-finals, with Tipperary and Clare then left to battle it out in the final round of group games to avoid a relegation play-off.
Clare’s opening day loss to Laois has left the Banner County in a tricky position, while Laois accounted for Tipperary in dreadful conditions last weekend to put themselves in a brilliant position.
Clare, however, can ensure a gripping final round of game matches if they can make home advantage count in Doonbeg.
Clare (v Kerry): M Glynn; O Devitt (capt.), T Kelly, G Harvey; S Ní Chonaill, L Ryan, E O’Gorman; A Reidy, J Doohan; A Malone, L Griffin, C Moloney; C Callinan, F Marrinan, G Nolan.
Kerry (v Clare): C Butler; C O’Brien, K Cronin, J O’Sullivan; A O’Connell, E Costello, C Murphy; M O’Connell, A Galvin (capt.); N Carmody, C Evans, N Ní Chonchúir; D O’Leary, R Dwyer, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh.
Lidl NFL Division 2B:
Armagh v Cavan; Athletic Grounds, Armagh
Armagh head into this one knowing that a win will see them through to the Division 2 semi-finals.
In their opening match, the Orchard County were impressive and a haul of 5-9 was an excellent way to begin what could be a successful campaign.
Armagh are genuine promotion contenders, while this is a critical game for Cavan as they’re the only team in the pool without a point.
An Armagh win would leave them with a winner-takes-all final group game with Monaghan for top spot.
Cavan beat Armagh in the League last year but Armagh were the superior force come championship time.
Armagh (v Cavan): A Carr; S Marley, C McCambridge, G Ferguson; T Grimes, L McConville, C Towe; N Marley, B Mackin; C Marley, F McKenna, E Lavery; A Mackin (capt.), N Reel, A McCoy.
Cavan (v Armagh): E Walsh; R Doonan, S Lynch, M Sheridan; S Greene, L Fitzpatrick (capt.), M Smith; S McKenna, N Byrd; N Keenaghan, L McVeety, A Gilsenan; A Rooney, G Sheridan, G Smith.
Lidl NFL Division 3A:
Sligo v Down; IT Sligo
Even though this game fell foul of the weather last weekend, the picture in Division 3A still became a little clearer.
As Sligo and Down prepare to face off at the second attempt, Down travel to IT Sligo knowing that a win will see them through to the semi-finals.
Even a defeat wouldn’t have Sligo out of the picture completely, as they have Connacht rivals Roscommon in their final group game.
A win for Sligo against Down, however, would send the Yeats County to the top of the pile.
Sligo (v Down): L Gaughan; A Morrisroe, M McNamara, E McDermott; C Dunne, A Egan, J Lyons; S Reynolds (capt.), R Molloy; C Gorman, R O’Brien, L Casey; L Duffy, K Walsh, S Cunney.
Down (v Sligo): C Kennedy; O Kelly, C Byrne, A McAlea; O Duffy, C McArdle, N McKibben; M Doherty (capt.), O Lavery; A Cull, A Greene, N Scullion; O Swail, V McCormack, S Dougherty.
Lidl NFL Division 3B:
Longford v Kildare; Emmet Park, Killoe
Both teams will aim to make it two from two at Emmet Park – and cement a semi-final place.
The winners of this one are definitely guaranteed knock-out football, as a consequence of Wicklow and Wexford’s draw last weekend.
Kildare contested a Division 3 Final last year and will want to get back to the big stage but Longford had an excellent Round 1 victory over Wicklow and can’t be discounted.
The Midlanders will look to make home advantage count against the visiting Lilywhites.
Longford (v Kildare): R McGrath; S McCormack, L Keegan, E Doris; C Farrell (capt.), K Crawford, A Noonan; M Victory, M Farrell; L McGuire, G Shannon, S Shannon; C Lohan, E Heaney, L Monaghan.
Kildare (v Longford): R O’Hara; C Nugent, L Lenehan, G Harnett; M Doherty, L Gilbert, S Kendrick; A Rattigan, G Clifford (capt.); N Sinnott, L Curran, C Sullivan; N Dooley, L Reilly, H McCormack.