There are a dozen games in the various GAA pre-season competitions this week with 11 games taking place tonight and one hurling tie in the Walsh Cup Thursday night. Here’s how we think the games will go.
Limerick v Clare
Clare made 10 changes from the side that beat Waterford including the return of Gary Brennan. For Limerick, like their hurlers, the county’s footballers are under new management with Billy Lee taking over the Shannonsiders. Clare had a super year in 2016 and will be looking to overcome their local rivals in this one.
Tipperary v Cork
With Cork playing Kerry at the weekend, it is very easy to overlook this tie. Tipp were hammered by the Kingdom last Sunday and while they will be all out to prove that last year’s championship run was no fluke, the Premier men don’t have the depth in the squad to have fringe players involved and get an eye-catching result.
Dublin v UCD
The Dubs, despite having their first-team squad abroad on holiday had way too much for DCU at the weekend and it would be no surprise to see the All-Ireland champions keep the winning run going no matter who is on the field. These are players trying to break into one of the most dominant panels in Irish sport so they will want to take this chance.
Wicklow v Laois
Wicklow were well beaten at the weekend by Meath and will be thankful that they have had no time to dwell on that result and are back playing again so soon. Laois could be sneakily competitive this year so will want to build up some momentum before the NFL.
Wexford v DCU
With so much media buzz around the counties hurlers with Davy Fitzgerald at the helm, the Wexford footballers could go completely under the radar in the south-east this year. After only managing a draw at the weekend, they will be looking to get their first win of 2017 and they should get it.
Meath v DIT
Less than a dozen days into 2017 and already the public are excited about what Meath can produce. The most likely side to challenge Dublin in Leinster come the summer, the Royals, under new manager Andy McEntee should win this game as some of the fringe players look to impress the boss.
Kildare v IT Carlow – Verdict: Kildare
Longford v Offaly – Verdict: Offaly
Louth v Maynooth University – Verdict: Louth
Carlow v Westmeath – Verdict: Carlow
Dublin v UCD
The students shipped an embarrassing 5-31 against Wexford so there is a possibility of a backlash. Expect UCD to perhaps play a stronger side that could put it up to the Dubs. In preparation for what will be an ultra-competitive Division 1A, Dublin will be looking to get into form and get game-time for a number of their panel.
Galway v NUI Galway (Thursday)
The Tribesman put up 1-30 in their Walsh Cup opener and will be looking to keep up their early-season form again Thursday evening. Once again Micheal Donoghue will be under pressure to provide silverware for the Westerners, and while winning the Walsh Cup is obviously not a priority, it is never too early in the year to win a few games.