National Football League Division One North – Round Three Preview
By Paul Shaughnessy
Gaelic Football fans all around the country will be keeping their eyes pealed on Division One North this weekend.
The top two teams in Division One North along with top two teams in Division One South will advance into the Divsion One League semi-final's. While the remaining teams in each group will head for the relegation playoffs.
Tyrone, Monaghan, Donegal and Armagh all still have a chance of qualifying of the Division one National league semi-finals. Tyrone host Monaghan this weekend in Healy Park and the home side are gurantted to progress into the Division one league semi-finals if they defeat the Farney County. Armagh welcome 2020 Ulster finalists Donegal at the Athletic Grounds a win for either side in this encounters will see them in the semi-final's. While a draw will see Donegal into the semi-finals and a draw would see Armagh through as long as Monaghan defeat Tyrone. A draw in both games would see Donegal and Tyrone advance.
Saturday 29th May
Armagh vs Donegal
Venue: Athletic Grounds
Tv Channel: Eir Sport
Referee: Maurice Deegan
The last time these sides met was in the Ulster Senior Football Championship Semi-Final in 2020 where Donegal dished out a 12 point hammering against Armagh. The Orchard county will be looking for revenge in this game.
Armagh can take positives from their two games in Division one where they looked impressive against Monaghan and will have mixed emotions against Tyrone where Kieran McGeeney's side missed a penalty to put them four points ahead. It will be a learning curve for his side knowing you have to take any chance your afforded at this level. This week Armagh will be sweating on the fitness of Ryan Kennedy, Aidan Forker and James Morgan all of who have featured in their full back line so far in 2021. The 2020 Ulster finalists could quite frankly have to reshuffle their team this weekend which should be interesting.
Donegal themselves looked to have suffered a blow with their talisman Michael Murphy who looks set to be ruled out for a number of weeks through injury. Declan Bonnar's defence looked in serious trouble last weekend conceding 4-11 and got cut open on numerous occasions but Donegal will look to tighten things up this weekend by introducing Paddy McGrath and Stephen McMenamin.
This has the potential to be a cracker with both sets of forwards look very impressive in their Division one league. With the loss of Michael Murphy and Armagh just coming up from Division the home side should rise to the occasion and have enough to exploit Donegal's defensive weaknesses with the direct running from Rory Grugan, Jarlath Og Burns and Stefan Campbell to earn the two points in the Athletic Grounds.
Saturday 29th May
Tyrone vs Monaghan
Venue: Healy Park Omagh
Tv Channel: GAA GO
Referee: David Coldrick
Tyrone have created a lot of attraction in this league campaign with their change of game plans opting to kick the ball a lot more than under previous management. Brian Dooher and Fergal Logan will be delighted with their sides response in round two against Armagh coming from behind and producing an impressive attacking display with Darren McCurry, Darragh Canavan and Paul Donaghy all standing out up front.
Monaghan looked to be on top of Donegal in the first half when The Farney county pushed 3-07 - 1-08 and will ruing some missed goal chances. The Monaghan management team will be delighted with the performances of Conor McCarthy and Aaron Mulligan who contributed 3-04 of Monaghan's 4-11. The 2018 All-Ireland semi-finalists have been opting tpo go for youth in their starting 15 holding their more experienced players in reserve which include Conor McManus, Kieran and Darren Hughes and Drew Wylie.
Tyrone look to have an array options within their panel and should have too much for Monaghan in this game but Monaghan will be looking to upset the odds on Saturday.