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James McCarthy remains an influential figure for Dublin.
James McCarthy remains an influential figure for Dublin.

Preview: Allianz Football League Division One

Allianz Football League Division One

Saturday February 8

Dublin v Monaghan, Croke Park, 7pm

Sunday February 9

Meath v Mayo, Pairc Tailteann, 2pm

Donegal v Galway, Letterkenny, 2pm

Tyrone v Kerry, Healy Park, 2pm

By Cian O'Connell

Putting points on the board early remains the objective so another important weekend looms.

Under the Saturday night Croke Park lights Dublin face a Monaghan outfit, who have defeated them in their two most recent League encounters.

Those victories illustrated the qualities Monaghan possess and they were certainly evident in Castleblayney last Sunday afternoon.

Eager to respond following a loss to Galway, Seamus 'Banty' McEnaney's charges were primed for a battle with Tyrone.

From Conor Boyle's enterprise through to Conor McCarthy's smart finishing, it was a thoroughly satisfying success for Monaghan.

Next on the agenda, though, is the toughest test of the lot against Dublin, who ran out comfortable winners over Mayo in Castlebar on Saturday evening.

James McCarthy and Ciaran Kilkenny's enduring excellence and the smooth opportunism of Dean Rock ensured Dessie Farrell's team collected the full complement of spoils with the minimum of fuss.

At Pairc Tailteann Meath will need to be more efficient in attack when hosting Mayo.

Kerry captain David Clifford.
Kerry captain David Clifford.

Two losses to Tyrone and Donegal leave Meath as the only team still to register a point in the top flight.

James Horan has sought to integrate new players into the Mayo set-up with Oisin Mullin, Padraig O Hora, and Tommy Conroy offering glimpses of their ability.

In Letterkenny Donegal, who have been prompted by the splendid Jamie Brennan, face Galway.

It promises to be a lively affair between two sharp teams, who have shown a real willingness to move the ball quickly in the early rounds.

Ultimately, Galway were pegged back by a late Kerry rally in Tralee. Still several lessons will have been learned by a Galway panel flecked with young footballers.

Donegal are also eager to unearth talent and despite being without a string of established performers three points have already been pocketed.

Healy Park provides the backdrop for a relevant game involving Tyrone and Kerry. Considering their late return to the training field it has been an encouraging start for Kerry.

David Clifford, James O'Donoghue, and Paul Geaney have all flourished thus far meaning the Kerry attack carries a potent threat.

Following the disappointment against Monaghan, Mickey Harte will be striving to secure a gritty response when Kerry visit Omagh.

DUBLIN (v Monaghan): Evan Comerford; Michael Fitzsimons, David Byrne, Eoin Murchan; James McCarthy, Brian Howard, John Small; Brian Fenton, Ciaran Kilkenny; Niall Scully, Paul Mannion, Kevin McManamon; Paddy Small, Paddy Andrews, Dean Rock.

MONAGHAN (v Dublin): Rory Beggan; Drew Wylie, Conor Boyle, Kieran Duffy; Karl O'Connell, Ryan Wylie, Micheal Bannigan; Darren Hughes, Niall Kearns; Ryan McAnespie, Conor McCarthy, Dessie Ward; Dermot Malone, Christopher McGuinness, Conor McManus.

GALWAY (v Donegal): Connor Gleeson; Seán Kelly, Seán Ó Maoilchiaráin, Johnny Heaney; Gary O’Donnell, John Daly, Cillian McDaid; Ronan Steede, Céin D’Arcy; Eamonn Brannigan, Damien Comer, Michael Daly; Rob Finnerty, Shane Walsh, Mikey Boyle.

MAYO (v Meath): Robert Hennelly; Padraig O'Hora, James McCormack, Brendan Harrison; Eoin O'Donoghue, Michael Plunkett, Paddy Durcan; Stephen Coen, Diarmuid O'Connor; Fergal Boland, Ryan O'Donoghue, James Durcan; Tommy Conroy, James Carr, Kevin McLoughlin.

KERRY (v Tyrone): Shane Ryan; Jason Foley, Tadhg Morley, Graham O’Sullivan; Paul Murphy, Gavin Crowley, Gavin White; Liam Kearney, Jack Barry; Micheal Burns, Sean O’Shea, Stephen O’Brien; Killian Spillane, David Clifford, Paul Geaney.

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