Posted by Shane Stapleton

Another weekend of top-class inter-county action and our ambassadors have put the necks on the line — and all have gone the same way again

02 2013 Ambassador Predictions v3

There’s a lot of one-way traffic as our GAA stars look ahead to the only two fixtures in the weekend’s calendar, with the Leinster and Ulster championships featuring, with sides looking to climb the rankings.

ANTRIM v MONAGHAN
Antrim have not beaten Monaghan in the Ulster championship since 1970 and our ambassadors aren’t inclined to see that hoodoo broken at Casement Park this weekend. Mickey Harte is quite emphatic about how he sees this one going:

“Looking at league form, Monaghan won Division 3 while Antrim were relegated from it. The Saffrons also lost heavily to Monaghan in the last round of the league and have five or six of their best players unavailable to them, so to expect a win here is just a bit unrealistic.”

Johnny Doyle, fresh from his exhibition of point-scoring in the win over Offaly, doesn’t hold back either in his assessment:

“Monaghan are just a more balanced team. They’re strong up the middle and the likes of Conor McManus I think they’ll just have too much firepower for Antrim.”

Ciaran Whelan offers Saffrons fans a little hope by saying “Monaghan tend not to travel well but they’ll have enough in the tank for Antrim” but Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper is less inclined towards Frank Dawson’s men: “Monaghan seem to be a little too strong in some areas for Antrim.”

Donegal's All-Ireland winning captain Michael Murphy knows these two Ulster sides as well as anyone, and completes a full house of predictions for the Farney men:

“Monaghan ended their league campaign on a high and will look to bring that form into championship. They have some good forwards who’ll pick off scores for them too.” 

Mickey Harte

Louth

Colm Cooper

Louth

Ciarán Whelan

Louth

Johnny Doyle

Louth

Donie Shine

Louth

Michael Murphy

Louth

LOUTH v WEXFORD

You wouldn’t have had too many people backing Louth to visit Portlaoise and waltz away with a 10-point win over Laois. That shows the Wee County travel well and our GAA ambassador Gooch Cooper thinks that “home advantage can be a big help here”.

Mickey Harte also feels that Aidan O’Rourke’s odds-on favourites are worth backing:

“The first day out is so important and Louth have that behind them now. Wexford just might be that little bit colder and at any rate, they’re not as strong as they were in the last few years.” 

Former Dublin star Ciaran Whelan is inclined to agree with his old foe Harte:

“Louth will have that all important momentum behind them whereas Wexford might be caught with a cold start.”

Johnny Doyle isn’t quite as sure as some of our other GAA stars but he gives the nod to O’Rourke and the Wee men:

“I’m giving a hesitant vote to Louth in this one. Aidan O’Rourke is a tactical coach with a well-drilled and hard-working squad at his disposal. I just think they’ll be able to execute their game plan that bit better.”

Donegal captain Michael Murphy completes another emphatic vote to one of the weekend favourites, and was highly impressed with how O’Rourke’s side put up a big score of 1-16 (to 1-06) against the O’Moore County to get to this stage:

“Louth’s win over Laois was a bit of a surprise to us all but it was comfortable enough in the end for them. Their confidence will be high and they’ll look to continue the momentum by racking up a score against Wexford.” 

Mickey Harte

Monaghan

Colm Cooper

Monaghan

Ciarán Whelan

Monaghan

Johnny Doyle

Monaghan

Donie Shine

Monaghan

Michael Murphy

Monaghan

Think you know better than our ambassadors? Why not play our Win, Lose or Draw prediction game to be in with a chance to win 2 VIP tickets to the All-Ireland final.