Enda Smith remains a key figure for Roscommon.
Enda Smith remains a key figure for Roscommon.

Preview: Weekend's Connacht, Leinster, Munster, and Ulster SFC action

Connacht SFC semi-final

Saturday April 30

Sligo v Roscommon, Markievicz Park, 5pm

Having ventured through Division Two of the Allianz Football League with an unbeaten record, Roscommon approach the Connacht Championship brimful of belief and confidence.

Reclaiming a provincial title is the mission for Anthony Cunningham's talented team.

Diarmuid Murtagh's goal sealed a satisfying Division Two League Final triumph over Galway with the Smiths prominent throughout the Spring too.

Sligo eventually fended off New York's spirited challenge and will look to Niall Murphy and Seán Carrabine for inspiration.

The home team, though, know the value and importance of a good start if a shock is to be delivered in the north west.

Dublin manager Dessie Farrell.
Dublin manager Dessie Farrell.

Leinster SFC quarter-finals

Saturday April 30

Westmeath v Longford, TEG Cusack Park, 6pm

Dublin v Wexford, Chadwicks Wexford Park, 6pm

Sunday May 1

Leinster SFC quarter-finals

Meath v Wicklow, Páirc Tailteann, 2pm

Kildare v Louth, O'Connor Park, 4pm

Inevitably much of the talk and debate surrounds Dublin this week as Dessie Farrell's team enters the Leinster Championship.

Ben Brosnan's craft was evident when Wexford, under the impressive direction of Shane Roche, caused a mild surprise when beating Offaly.

How will Dublin respond following a disappointing 2021 campaign? Will Con O'Callaghan be available? What new players will emerge? Some questions will be answered in the coming weeks and months.

Neighbours Westmeath and Longford collide in Mullingar in what promises to be an attractive encounter.

Longford manager Billy O'Loughlin's time with St Loman's means he has plenty of knowledge about Westmeath's considerable potential.

During the league Westmeath, with John Helsin splendid, offered glimpses of their ability, but they are aware of Longford's passion.

When Longford needed a positive result against Laois to survive in Division Three, Joe Hagan and Dessie Reynolds made valuable contributions.

Wicklow forward Kevin Quinn impressed against Laois.
Wicklow forward Kevin Quinn impressed against Laois.

Kevin Quinn's hat-trick decorated an excellent Wicklow win over Laois.

Now a trip to Navan looms for Wicklow, who impressed last weekend.

Meath, though, with Donal Keogan and Bryan Menton key figures, believe that significant progress can be made in 2022.

Kildare, with Jimmy Hyland and Daniel Flynn effective, enjoyed some encouraging moments in Division One.

Still the league campaign culminated in relegation and Glenn Ryan's charges will know that Louth are a team that has generated momentum in recent months.

Sam Mulroy's efficiency was a key feature in Louth's Division Three success.

The fact that five goals were netted against Carlow underlines the feel good factor that is attached to Louth football currently.

Colm Collins and Billy Lee following a Munster SFC clash in 2017.
Colm Collins and Billy Lee following a Munster SFC clash in 2017.

Munster SFC quarter-finals

Saturday April 30

Clare v Limerick, Cusack Park, 6pm

Waterford v Tipperary, Fraher Field, 7pm

An interesting match is scheduled in Ennis on Saturday evening with Clare and Limerick both quietly optimistic about the possibilities that exist this year.

Colm Collins and Billy Lee's passionate and purposeful work is well documented during the past decade.

Clare took six points in Division Two to retain that status and they will be joined in that group next year by an Iain Corbett and Josh Ryan inspired Limerick.

Limerick won five from seven matches in Division Three to earn promotion, but they will need to restrict the prolific David Tubridy's influence this weekend.

Prolific Tipperary forward Conor Sweeney.
Prolific Tipperary forward Conor Sweeney.

At Fraher Field Waterford will be hoping to summon a defiant display against Tipperary.

When the teams met in Division Four at the end of January the spoils were divided following a 0-10 each stalemate.

Since then Waterford lost six on the spin, while Tipperary embarked on a promotion winning campaign.

Jason Curry remains a key contributor for Waterford, who will be intent on causing the Premier County some problems.

Conor Sweeney's finishing and Mark Russell's effectiveness ensure Tipperary are hopeful about launching another Championship adventure.

Monaghan attacker Jack McCarron.
Monaghan attacker Jack McCarron.

Ulster SFC quarter-finals

Saturday April 30

Monaghan v Down, St Tiernach's Park, 4.30pm

Sunday May 1

Tyrone v Derry, O'Neill's Healy Park, 4pm

Following a disappointing Allianz Football League Division Two campaign, Down will be striving to improve considerably.

Monaghan's last group match concluded in a dramatic win over Dublin that sends them into the Ulster Championship armed with hope and expectation.

Seamus 'Banty' McEnaney has integrated a number of emerging players into the panel, but the skill and class of Jack McCarron continues to provide inspiration.

Rory Beggan, Darren Hughes, and Conor McManus remain instrumental players for Monaghan, but Down will be eager to make a statement themselves.

While the league was worrying with only one point secured from seven matches, Down will hope that the experience of Kevin McKernan and the ability of Barry O'Hagan can be vital factors in Clones.

Conor Meyler is an influential figure for Tyrone.
Conor Meyler is an influential figure for Tyrone.

In Omagh can Derry summon the required mixture of graft and craft to defeat All Ireland champions Tyrone?

The league brought plenty of promising moments for Derry, who eventually finished third in Division Two.

That was a slight setback, but it was harsh to accumulate 11 points and not secure top flight status for next year.

Shane McGuigan starred during the league for Derry, while Chrissy McKaigue and Conor Glass continue to impress for Rory Gallagher's outfit.

Tyrone did what was required against Fermanagh, who had made a gutsy start.

By the end, though, Tyrone had gleaned a victory with Darren McCurry and Cathal McShane clipping important scores.

Conn Kilpatrick and Brian Kennedy were relevant for Tyrone, who will expect a stern assignment against a pumped up Derry.