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Enda Smith, Roscommon, and John Daly, Galway, during the 2019 Connacht SFC Final at Pearse Stadium.
Enda Smith, Roscommon, and John Daly, Galway, during the 2019 Connacht SFC Final at Pearse Stadium.

Preview: Saturday's inter-county action

Saturday January 18

Connacht FBD League Final

Roscommon v Galway, Dr Hyde Park, 2pm

O'Byrne Cup Final

Offaly v Longford, Bord Na Mona O'Connor Park, 2.45pm

Dr McKenna Cup Final

Tyrone v Monaghan, Athletic Grounds, 7.30pm

Walsh Cup Final

Wexford v Galway, MW Hire O'Moore Park, 4pm

By Cian O'Connell

For the sixth year in a row Roscommon and Galway contest the Connacht FBD League Final.

In that time they have also contested the last four provincial championship deciders so a keen rivarly has been established.

Anthony Cunningham and Padraic Joyce, though, will still be eager to experiment ahead of the Allianz Football League.

Roscommon proved far too strong for an understrength Leitrim with Andy Glennon, Enda Smith, and Finbar Cregg combining to blast six goals.

Increasing the depth of the Roscommon panel is one of Cunningham's aims so a game against Galway offers another opportunity for emerging players.

That is a policy being adopted by new maroon boss Padraic Joyce, who makes seven changes to the spirited team which overcame Mayo after a penalty shootout in Castlebar.

NUIG lost a gripping Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup opener to UCC, but five players involved - Ronan O Beolain, Conor Campbell, Sean Mulkerrins, Cein Darcy, and Rob Finnerty are named to start at the Hyde.

Promising Offaly forward Cian Johnson.
Promising Offaly forward Cian Johnson.

While the O'Byrne Cup isn't top of the 2020 agenda both Offaly and Longford will be hoping to secure silverware in Tullamore.

John Maughan has spoken about the exciting players being integrated to the Offaly ranks and the 0-16 to 0-11 triumph over Westmeath was satisfactory.

Bernard Allen was sharp, while the talented Cian Johnson remains a footballer worth monitoring.

Longford finished strongly to beat a youthful Dublin team in the midlands last Saturday.

Darren Gallagher's late flurry of scores proved decisive as Padraic Davis' charges prevailed.

Rian Brady and Gallagher were prominent for Longford, who have been outwitted in three O'Byrne Cup finals since last winning the competition in 2000.

Conall McCann impressed for Tyrone against Down last weekend in the Dr McKenna Cup.
Conall McCann impressed for Tyrone against Down last weekend in the Dr McKenna Cup.

A significant crowd is expected at the Athletic Grounds when Tyrone and Monaghan collide.

Tyrone's record in the McKenna Cup during the past decade is sprinkled with wins.

In seven of the last eight years Tyrone have prevailed with Mickey Harte preparing for the upcoming Allianz Football League.

The semi-final success over Down included seven Darren McCurry points, while Conall McCann's 1-2 contribution was impressive also.

Conor Forde replaces Rory Beggan between the sticks for Monaghan, but Seamus 'Banty' McEnaney has still named a strong team.

Ryan Wylie returns at centre back, but McEnaney will be interested to see how some promising young forwards fare against Tyrone.

Wexford hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald.
Wexford hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald.

In the Walsh Cup Wexford will be anxious to follow up a comfortable win over Kilkenny against Galway in Portlaoise.

Davy Fitzgerald's team eventually shrugged off Kilkenny's resistance with Aidan Nolan, Conor McDonald, and Andrew Shore supplying vital scores.

New Galway boss Shane O'Neill afforded opportunities to a string of recent All Ireland minor medalists against Dublin at Parnell Park.

The experience of Gearoid McInerney, Johnny Coen, Aidan Harte, and Cathal Mannion, though, provides valuable assistance.

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