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Preview: All-Ireland SFC Round 1

The meeting of Kerry and Mayo is the heavyweight clash of Round 1 of the All-Ireland SFC. 

The meeting of Kerry and Mayo is the heavyweight clash of Round 1 of the All-Ireland SFC. 

All-Ireland SFC round 1

Saturday, May 20

Group 1

Kerry v Mayo, Fitzgerald Stadium, 3pm (GAAGO)

Ref: Sean Hurson (Tyrone)

Mayo have made three changes to the team that were beaten in the Connacht quarter-final by Roscommon six weeks ago for this mouth-watering All-Ireland SFC group clash with reigning champions Kerry.

David McBrien is back from injury and replaces Eoghan McLaughlin at wing-back, Sam Callinan comes in at corner-back for Donnacha McHugh, and James Carr replaces Tommy Conroy in attack.

Cillian O’Connor is still ruled out through injury, but Mayo don’t lack for options in attack with Conroy, Jason Doherty, and Kevin McLoughlin likely to be sprung from the bench.

Kerry, unsurprisingly, name the same team that banged five goals past Clare in the Munster Football Final.

David Clifford score 2-2 from play in that match and Mayo’s hopes of causing an upset here will rest in no small degree on how well they can contain him.

Their three inside defenders, Jack Coyne, McBrien, and Callinan are all relatively inexperienced and it will be interesting to see which one of them is given the task of curbing Clifford.

This match will test the mettle of both teams and we’ll have a good idea afterwards of their championship credentials.

KERRY: Shane Ryan; Dylan Casey, Jason Foley, Tom O'Sullivan; Graham O'Sullivan, Tadhg Morley, Gavin White; Diarmuid O'Connor, Jack Barry; Dara Moynihan, Sean O'Shea, Paudie Clifford; Tony Brosnan, David Clifford, Paul Geaney. Subs: Shane Murphy, Brian Ó Beaglaíoch, Adrian Spillane, Barry Dan O'Sullivan, Ruairi Murphy, Paul Murphy, Micheál Burns, Mike Breen, Stephen O'Brien, Donal O'Sullivan, Ronan Buckley

MAYO: Colm Reape; Jack Coyne, David McBrien, Sam Callinan; Paddy Durcan, Conor Loftus, Stephen Coen; Matthew Ruane, Diarmuid O’Connor; Fionn McDonagh, Jack Carney, Jordan Flynn; Aidan O'Shea, James Carr, Ryan O'Donoghue. Subs: Rory Byrne, Tommy Conroy, Jason Doherty, Enda Hession, Darren McHale, Donnacha McHugh, Eoghan McLaughlin, Kevin McLoughlin, Pádraig O’Hora, Paul Towey, Bob Tuohy

Group 2

Galway v Tyrone, Pearse Stadium, 5.15pm (GAAGO)

Ref: David Gough (Meath)

Paul Conroy is restored to the Galway team for this crunch clash with Tyrone. The experienced midfielder didn’t start the Connacht Final against Sligo but now comes in at midfield with Rob Finnerty dropping to the bench.

Tyrone also make just one change to the team that was knocked out of the Ulster Championship by Monaghan, with Joe Oguz an indirect replacement for Kieran McGeary.

He starts at wing-forward with Peter Harte moving from that position to wing-back where McGeary started against Monaghan.

Galway were impressive champions in Connacht and bring a lot of momentum into this match, whereas it’s hard to know exactly where Tyrone are at after five weeks without a match.

Both teams boast lethal inside forward lines so whichever team can dominate the middle third and guarantee them a good supply will come out on top here.

The athleticism that Galway players like Conroy, Matthew Tierney, and Peter Cooke can bring to this area for the Tribesmen could give them an edge.

GALWAY: Connor Gleeson; John McGrath, Seán Kelly, Jack Glynn; Dylan McHugh, John Daly, Cillian McDaid; Paul Conroy, John Maher; Matthew Tierney, Johnny Heaney, Peter Cooke; Ian Burke, Damien Comer, Shane Walsh. Subs: Bernard Power, Seán Fitzgerald, Daniel O’Flaherty, Cian Hernon, Paul Kelly, Gerard Davoran, Niall Daly, Robert Finnerty, Cathal Sweeney, Dessie Conneely, Tomo Culhane.

TYRONE: Niall Morgan; Michael McKernan, Ronan McNamee, Padraig Hampsey; Conor Meyler, Cormac Quinn, Peter Harte; Brian Kennedy, Conn Kilpatrick; Frank Burns, Michael O’Neill, Joe Oguz; Darren McCurry, Matthew Donnelly, Darragh Canavan. Subs: Benny Gallen, Ruari Canavan, Aidan Clarke, Niall Devlin, Niall Kelly, Kieran McGeary, Michael McGleenan, Cormac Monroe, David Mulgrew, Sean O'Donnell, Niall Sludden

Clare footballer, Keelan Sexton. 

Clare footballer, Keelan Sexton. 

Group 4

Clare v Donegal, Cusack Park, Ennis, 2pm

Ref: James Molloy (Galway)

Clare make two changes to the team that were beaten by Kerry in the Munster SFC Final as Ronan Lannigan and Cian O’Dea come in for Manus Doherty and Dermot Coughlan.

Presumably the hope is to shore up a defence that leaked five goals in that 14-point defeat to the Kingdom.

Donegal make four changes to the team that was knocked out of the Ulster Championship by Down.

John Ross Molloy, Odhran Doherty, Rory O’Donnell and Luke McGlynn all make their first championship starts in place of Caolan McColgan, Stephen McMenamin, Jason McGee, and Michael Langan.

Donegal look like a team struggling for confidence right now. A more settled Clare team with home advantage could have the edge.

CLARE: Stephen Ryan; Ronan Lanigan, Cillian Brennan, Cillian Rouine; Ciaran Russell, Jamie Malone, Cian O'Dea; Cathal O'Connor, Darren O'Neill; Daniel Walsh, Emmet McMahon, Pearse Lillis; Eoin Cleary, Keelan Sexton, Pádraic Collins. Subs: David Sexton, Darragh Bohannon, Gavin Cooney, Manus Doherty, Micheal Garry, Aaron Griffin, Shane Griffin, Mark McInerney, Brian McNamara, Alan Sweeney, Ikem Ugweru.

DONEGAL: Shaun Patton; Mark Curran, Brendan McCole, John Ross Molloy; Caolan Ward, Eoghan Ban Gallagher, Odhran Doherty; Caolan McGonagle, Rory O Donnell; Daire Ó Baoill, Jamie Brennan, Ciaran Thompson; Luke McGlynn, Hugh McFadden, Conor O Donnell. Subs: Gavin Mulreaney, Jason McGee, Caolan McColgan, Brian O Donnell, Oisin Gallen, Marty O'Reilly, Johnny McGroddy, Kane Barrett, Kieran Tobin, Jack McSharry, Jamie Grant

Sunday, May 21

Group 3

Sligo v Kildare, Markievicz Park, 2.30pm

Ref: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)

Kildare make one change to the team that lost narrowly to Dublin in the Leinster SFC semi-final as Paul Cribbin comes in for Jack Robinson.

Sligo have made two changes to the team that was defeated by Galway in the Connacht Final with Aidan Devaney replacing Daniel Lyons in goal and Paddy O’Connor coming into the forwards for Darragh Cummins.

Consistency has been a huge issue for Kildare throughout the season so it’s hard to know what to expect from them here.

If they can raise their game to the same level they produced when losing narrowly against Dublin in the Leinster SFC semi-final you’d fancy them to take the win here, but that’s not a given.

Sligo will be buoyed by a very vocal home crowd and will feel if they can break even in the middle third then forwards like Niall Murphy, Pat Spillane, and O’Connor can build a winning total.

SLIGO: Aidan Devaney; Evan Lyons, Eddie McGuinness, Nathan Mullen; Paul McNamara, Brian Cox, Luke Towey; Cian Lally, Paul Kilcoyne; Finnian Cawley, Sean Carrabine, Keelan Cawley; Pat Spillane, Patrick O Connor, Niall Murphy. Subs: Daniel Lyons, Alan Reilly, Darragh Cummins, David Quinn, Gerard O'Kelly Lynch, Jack Lavin, Joe Keaney, Kenny Gavigan, Luke Nicholson, Mark Walsh, Mikey Gordon

KILDARE: Mark Donnellan; Mick O'Grady, Shea Ryan, Eoin Doyle; David Hyland, Kevin Flynn, Jack Sargent; Kevin O'Callaghan, Aaron Masterston; Paddy McDermott, Ben McCormack, Alex Beirne; Paul Cribbin, Darragh Kirwan, Paddy Woodgate. Subs: Aaron O'Neill, Darragh Malone, Ryan Houlihan, Brendan Gibbons, Kevin Feely, Barry Coffey, Tony Archbold, Neil Flynn, Daniel Flyn, Mike Joyce, Jack Robinson.