Allianz Football League Preview 06-04-2012
By Tony Cuddihy of Setanta Sports
It’s a massive Easter Sunday in the Allianz Football League, Division 1, as Dublin travel to Cork and Kerry welcome back talisman Colm Cooper against Mayo.
Cork v Dublin, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 2.30pm
Seven of the Dublin side that lost to Mayo last weekend have been cut from the team to face Cork on Sunday.
Goalkeeper Michael Savage, Philly McMahon and Johnny Cooper in the defence and Sean Murray and Eamon Fennell' new midfield partnership are the major changes.
In attack David Byrne and Craig Dias are drafted in.
For Cork, Ken O'Halloran replaces Alan Quirke in goal and Graham Canty returns from injury to take his customary place at centre half back. He replaces Sean Kiely.
In attack, Paul Kerrigan comes in for the suspended Mark Collins.
Cork manager Conor Counihan, meanwhile, admits he has been troubled by his side's lack of consistency.
"If Dublin had won their game last week, it would have changed the situation for Sunday's game.
"We would have been qualified and could then have looked at a few more players. It was a strange result last Saturday but Mayo got a run early on and they never let up.
"I don't think that's the true reflection of Dublin. They're coming down to face us with a lot to play for and something to prove.
"I'd be disappointed with our lack of consistency in two different areas - from game to game and in the 70 minutes of a game.
"It's a hard one to get your head around and explain. But I'm looking around the country and I don't think we're alone in that instance. Dublin and Mayo have been affected by inconsistency as well.
"I think only Kerry and Tyrone from Division One and Two can be happy with the league and the consistency of performance they have produced."
Cork: O'Halloran; Carey, Shields, Cotter; O'Leary, Canty, Kissane; O'Connor, O'Neill; Goold, Kerrigan, Kelly; O'Neill, Walsh, O'Connor.
Dublin: Savage, O'Sullivan, O'Carroll, McMahon, Cooper, McCarthy, Nolan, Murray, Fennell, Byrne, Macauley, Cullen, Dias, Connolly, McManamon.
Donegal v Armagh, Ballybofey, 2.30pm
Both Donegal and Armagh have had disappoiting season in the Allianz League Division 1, with the home side needing a win to avoid the drop into Division 2.
Jim McGuinness' side, having lost four out of six games so far, will be without Michael Murphy.
Paddy McBrearty, meanwhile, is a doubt for the game after a week of AFL trials in London.
Armagh's Crossmaglen contingent come back into contention, with Jamie Clarke, Tony Kernan and James Morgan taking part in training this week.
Despite beating Kerry, it has not been a vintage campaign for Armagh.
Defeat away to Laois and a home loss to Mayo were very disappointing, while they took a heavy defeat against Dublin in Croke Park.
Despite all this, the Orchard County have the chance of progressing to the last four if results go their way.
Donegal: Team to be confirmed.
Armagh: McEvoy; Mallon, Donaghy, McKenna; Duffy, McKeever, Moriarty; Lavery, Vernon; Mallon, Padden, Duffy; Stevenson, Rafferty, Dyas.
Kerry v Mayo, Austin Stack Park, 2.30pm
Colm Cooper returns to make his first appearance in a Kerry shirt this weekend, as Jack O'Connor's side entertains Mayo at Austin Stack Park in Tralee.
The Dr Crokes forward is one of seven changes.
Goalkeeper Brian Kelly, defenders Brian McGuire and Peter Crowley, midfielders Anthony Maher and Kieran Donaghy, and forwards David O’Callaghan and Cooper all come into the side.
Kerry have already secured their place in the knockout round so, theoretically, can afford to relax somewhat against Mayo.
However, Kingdom legend Seamus Moynihan does not believe they are capable of slacking off.
“It’s great that Kerry have the luxury that they’re into the semi-final but I think they’ll be going out to play against Mayo," he told TheScore.ie.
"Like every team that Jack selects, it will be very competitive and they’ll be going out to win the game.
“When you go out playing games, you go out to win. You don’t go out to lose or to put in a half-performance, because if you do that, you’re going to get injured or it’s going to backfire on you.
"Mayo are never an easy team in the league. They’ll be fighting, so it’s going to be a very competitive game. Jack will be delighted to have that kind of a game."
Kerry: Kelly; Enright, Young, McGuire; Crowley, Brosnan, Lyne; Maher, Donaghy; O'Callaghan, Keane, Buckley; Cooper, Curtin, O'Leary.
Mayo: Team to be confirmed.
Laois v Down, Portlaoise, 2.30pm
Laois have a poor recent record against Down, losing on their last three competitive games against the county, while Laois have won just one of their previous four home games in Division 1.
Justin McNulty has been boosted by the return of Padraig Clancy for the clash, after he injured his hamstring against Dublin.
David Conway - who pulled his hamstring in the build up to that game - had been expected to start but has not made the starting XV.
Paul Cahillane recently returned to McNulty's panel after study commitments but has been left out of the forward line.
Laois know that they will need victory by three points or more if they are still to be playing Division 1 football next season.
Laois: Culliton; Healy, Lillis, O'Leary; Meaney, Timmons, Boyle; O'Loughlin, Quigley; Munnelly, Begley, Strong; Sheehan, Clancy, Walsh.
Down: Team to be confirmed.
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Date:April 06th, 2012