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Saturday 16 December 2017

Red Hands to halt the Tribes Kingdom can climb at Mayo's expense

ALLIANZ NFL DIVISION 1

GALWAY v TYRONE

(Tuam, Tomorrow, 2.30, Deferred TG4)

JOE KERNAN and Mickey Harte enjoyed some rare old sideline battles as Armagh and Tyrone vied for Ulster supremacy, and now that rivalry will be renewed in the unusual setting of Tuam Stadium.

These are not overly auspicious times for either boss, though. Kernan has found the initial going tough out west, with Galway stuck on two points, still reeling from their 10-point capitulation at home to Kerry and thankful for small mercies (that Michael Meehan's knee injury isn't of the season-ending variety).

At least Harte can claim the good ship Tyrone is back on course, even though their win over Cork came with good fortune attached. He has made five changes, while his assistant Tony Donnelly has been denying reports that Enda McGinley has quit the panel, citing "niggling injuries" for his absence for the rest of the league.

We're still not sure that Tyrone (sans Stephen O'Neill, Brian Dooher and with Sean Cavanagh still on the bench) have fully turned the corner, but we're even less convinced by a Galway attack minus Meehan, Armstrong and Joyce.

ODDS: Galway 13/8, Draw 15/2, Tyrone 8/13

VERDICT: Tyrone



Farneymen all set to fire past Foylesiders

MONAGHAN v DERRY

(Scotstown, Tomorrow, 2.30)

MONAGHAN had their moments against Dublin, none better than Tommy Freeman's bullet finish beyond Stephen Cluxton, but they still find themselves locked in the relegation scrap that many pundits had predicted at the outset.

This game will go a long way to deciding their fate, and it's hardly a surprise that the bookies find it impossible to separate these best of enemies. Derry twice held the whip hand last summer -- firstly in that best-forgotten Celtic Park foul-fest, and later in a surprisingly fluent and free-scoring qualifier.

Since their opening-night excellence against Tyrone, Derry have struggled to a surprising degree and unless the Bradley brothers catch fire (as they've done in the past against Monaghan) then we slightly favour a home win.

ODDS: Monaghan evens, Draw 15/2, Derry evens

VERDICT: Monaghan



Kingdom can climb at Mayo's expense

KERRY v MAYO

(Tralee, Tomorrow, 2.30)

LAST Sunday at Pearse Stadium was more like the Kerry we all grudgingly love and admire, with Declan O'Sullivan and the artful Gooch applying the goal-scoring icing to the cake as they beat Galway at their ease in the second half.

On that basis, it would be a foolish man to back Mayo on enemy soil, although that comes with a caveat. Few enough people expected John O'Mahony's men to take both points in Derry either -- but the return of Alan Dillon, not to mention a visit to the blacksmith (eight wides as opposed to 18 against Dublin), did the trick and their win was richly deserved.

Another successful raid here will put Mayo firmly in contention for a league final place -- but our own belief is that holders Kerry will still be in the hunt come tomorrow evening.

ODDS: Kerry 2/5, Draw 15/2, Mayo 5/2

VERDICT: Kerry

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