Keelan Sexton is a key performer for Clare.
Keelan Sexton is a key performer for Clare.

Preview: Weekend's All Ireland SFC Quarter-Finals action

All Ireland SFC Quarter-Finals

Saturday June 25

Derry v Clare, Croke Park, 3.45pm

Dublin v Cork, Croke Park, 6pm

Sunday June 26

Galway v Armagh, Croke Park, 1.45pm

Kerry v Mayo, Croke Park, 4pm

A weekend of high level football carries real intrigue ensuring significant attendances will make a welcome return to GAA headquarters this weekend.

Only eight counties remain in the race for the Sam Maguire Cup so two critical days of action are on the agenda.

Colm Collins' sterling work with Clare continues to be reflected perfectly illustrated by an appearance in the last eight of the Championship.

Kealan Sexton's brilliance mattered deeply as Clare finished with a flourish to stun Roscommon in a lively Round Two qualifier.

That confirmed the character in the Clare panel, but there is plenty of class too.

Derry manager Rory Gallagher.
Derry manager Rory Gallagher.

Cathal O'Connor remains an effective performer for the Banner, while Jamie Malone's ability to drive forward was evident in the Roscommon triumph too.

It has been a remarkable campaign for Derry also with Rory Gallagher's outfit collecting a first Ulster title since 1998.

That 1-16 to 1-14 triumph over Donegal at St Tiernach's Park showcased Derry's spirit and stamina.

Gallagher's team is sprinkled with crafty footballers - Chrissy McKaigue and Brendan Rogers provide leadership and nous, while Niall Loughlin and Shane McGuigan are sharp finishers.

The stakes are piled high for Derry and Clare, who would relish another day out at the Jones Road venue in the penultimate round.

Ciarán Kilkenny remains an influential figure for Dublin.
Ciarán Kilkenny remains an influential figure for Dublin.

Dublin's smooth progress through the Leinster Championship bodes well for Dessie Farrell's charges.

While relegation from Division One of the Allianz Football League brought pain, Dublin's response has been effective.

Inevitably Brian Fenton and Ciarán Kilkenny spearheaded Dublin's provincial campaign, while the return of Con O'Callaghan adds substance and style to the attack.

Momentum is being generated too, but Dublin will afford Cork the utmost respect.

Cork midfielder Ian Maguire.
Cork midfielder Ian Maguire.

A gritty effort against Kerry ultimately fell short when the favourites pulled clear late on, but Cork have subsequently eked out a couple of wins.

When Limerick started to pose some questions, Cork were ready, willing, and able to summon the answers.

Ian Maguire is an instrumental figure, while Kevin O'Donovan and Mattie Taylor will attempt to raid up the pitch.

Brian Hurley, John O'Rourke, and Stephen Sherlock have all offered glimpses of their scoring prowess this summer.

Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney.
Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney.

Armagh's back door triumphs over Tyrone and Donegal ensure Kieran McGeeney's side will enter Croke Park heartened.

There is good depth to the Armagh panel with Andrew Murnin and Stefan Campbell's recent contributions highlighting that fact.

Jarly Óg Burns and Rian O'Neill are delivering handsomely too for Armagh, who have recovered impressively following a disappointing Ulster exit to Donegal.

When they met Donegal in Clones, Rory Grugan's neat goal was a reminder of Armagh's direct approach so Galway must be diligent from the outset.

Galway forward Damien Comer.
Galway forward Damien Comer.

Padraic Joyce's Tribesmen chalked up wins over Mayo, Leitrim, and Roscommon out west with Rob Finnerty, Shane Walsh, and Damien Comer prominent in attack.

Defensively, though, Seán Kelly and John Daly have been effective for Galway, who know that another demanding assignment awaits.

Kerry cruised to a Munster final success over Limerick, but a pumped up Mayo should provide a real test.

When the teams last collided in the Allianz Football League decider Mayo were missing a string of key players.

Kerry forward Paul Geaney.
Kerry forward Paul Geaney.

A MacHale Park loss to Galway was a setback for Mayo, who have beaten Monaghan and Kildare.

Mayo struggled for vast chunks of the Kildare game, but still found a way with Lee Keegan typically industrious and wholehearted.

Goals from Oisín Mullin and Jordan Flynn ensured that Mayo survived, but massive improvement will be necessary against Kerry.

Oisín Mullin is a key performer for Mayo.
Oisín Mullin is a key performer for Mayo.

Jack O'Connor's Kingdom gleaned the league title with a dynamic victory over Mayo.

A doubt surrounds the participation of the gifted David Clifford due to injury, but Killian Spillane, Seán O'Shea, and Paul Geaney scored heavily down south.

It promises to be an exciting encounter, particularly if Mayo, as they so often do, make it chaotic from the start.