Posted by Shane Stapleton

Each of the four provinces are in action this week and our GAA stars aren't agreeing on everything like last week

02 2013 Ambassador Predictions week 5All four provincial championships feature this weekend, with eight sides all looking to climb the rankings.

Roscommon v Mayo Predictions

The only one of our GAA ambassadors whose county is in action this weekend is Roscommon’s Donie Shine. The rangy attacker’s band of men have a tall order this weekend as they face a Mayo side that battered Galway in the previous round.

The winner here will face Leitrim or London in the Connacht final, so the prize is massive if Shine’s men can find form, as he has told us:

“I’m looking forward to it. We’ve been a while waiting as it’s been a good break between the national league and the championship. We’ve been training hard and we’re looking forward to getting going on Sunday.”

Michael Murphy has a semi-final of his own to look forward to in Ulster but this weekend will be rooting for his friend: 

"I’m good friends with Donie Shine but I’m also trying to play catch up in this ‘Win, Lose or Draw’ league so I have to take that out of the equation! On paper you’d have to opt for Mayo. Roscommon have been able to watch Mayo which is an added bonus so they can see how they’ve planned and prepared from the Galway game. But Mayo will be looking towards the All-Ireland series even this early in the year and they’ll be looking at Roscommon as another stepping stone along the way.” 

Not too many of our GAA stars are going with the Rossies but their club side St Brigids this year showed amazing resilience to come back against Ballymun Kickhams to win the All-Ireland title, as Mickey Harte noted:

“It just looks too much like Mayo. Roscommon have been doing well relatively speaking since they got their St Brigids players back but the form Mayo showed against Galway means you cannot look past them to reach the final.”

The Gooch, however, just feels that the Heather County’s dismissal of the Tribesmen shows that they are at a very high level:

“Mayo were excellent in the first round – they took Galway apart. Roscommon though, are a bit Jekyll and Hyde. They can be very good one year and off the beat the next. They’ve been waiting for this game for a long time but Mayo’s experience of the bigger stage in recent years will see them through.” 

Mickey Harte

Mayo

Colm Cooper

Mayo

Ciarán Whelan

Mayo

Johnny Doyle

Mayo

Donie Shine

Roscommon

Michael Murphy

Mayo


Clare v Cork Predictions

The only sort of traffic in Munster this year has been one-way and you won’t find anyone outside the Clare camp who thinks that will change until the provincial final, with Cork expected to beat the Banner men well this weekend.

Tipperary, Limerick and Waterford have already been dismantled by Kerry and the Rebels and you won’t find too many of our Eircom GAA stars expecting Mick O’Dwyer’s Clare side to party like it’s 1992. Certainly not Kingdom legend Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper: 

“Any team that has Mick O’Dwyer in charge of them will put up a stern test; I just think that Cork will be too strong for them. All over the field, they have more experience and I expect them to come through.”

Johnny Doyle’s 2012 championship campaign ended with a bruising defeat to 2010 All-Ireland winners Cork, so he knows exactly what faces the underdogs:

“It's hard to look beyond Cork as I just can't see an upset happening here. If there were a couple of risks to be taken on injury, Cork might even save them for bigger tests ahead. I know it's the Munster championship and there's always the chance of a David and Goliath story but I don't think Cork will be facing into it on Monday morning.”

Mickey Harte

Cork

Colm Cooper

Cork

Ciarán Whelan

Cork

Johnny Doyle

Cork

Donie Shine

Cork

Michael Murphy

Cork


Fermanagh
v Cavan Predictions

Arguably the most difficult tie of the weekend to call and our judges have given a split verdict. Peter Canavan leads out the Erne boys are few men know him better than his old manager with Tyrone.

“A very difficult one to call and there’s good reasons to back both of them. Cavan had a good win over Armagh to back up their U-21 success in the last two or three years but Fermanagh are waiting in the long grass. If Fermanagh had a full complement of players, I would really root for them to win it but I’m going to stick my neck out anyway and say I still think they’re going to do it,” says Mickey Harte. 

Johnny Doyle agrees with Harte that Fermanagh will have the edge in this Ulster quarter-final:

“Peter Canavan has them well drilled and well schooled and Brewster Park could play a part too.”

Michael Murphy knows both sides very well and, while he doesn’t think there will be much to choose between them, he is disagreeing with Harte and Doyle over who will come out on top:

“Cavan have a game under their belt. They’ve shown promise with their influx of youth into the side to mix with the experience. After the high of beating Armagh they’ll be looking to topple Fermanagh but it’ll be a close one.” 

Gooch knows how to fire a team to victory better than anyone and he feels the form of number 14 Martin Dunne could be a big factor:

“Cavan had a fantastic win against Armagh in the first round. Their full forward got around 10 points there, but I think Peter Canavan will be waiting in the long grass for them a little bit. He’ll have Fermanagh very well prepared. It’s a very hard one to call but I think just Cavan in a very, very tight match. The confidence of beating Armagh will give them a great boost and I think that might just get them over the line.”

Mickey Harte

Fermanagh

Colm Cooper

Cavan

Ciarán Whelan

Cavan

Johnny Doyle

Fermanagh

Donie Shine

Cavan

Michael Murphy

Cavan


Wicklow v Meath Predictions

Away form has been an issue for the Royals in recent times but Mick O’Dowd led his team to three wins in four trips during the league so confidence will be high heading into this journey to Fortress Aughrim.

Ciaran Whelan thinks that “home advantage is key to Wicklow in this one. They met last year when Meath won by six points in the end. I’m expecting more from Meath under new manager Mick O’Dowd. For their first championship day out, they’ll be better organised. They should be prepared for what Aughrim brings to the table and I think Meath will have too much.”

“Tough one to call but with Leighton Glynn missing, Meath should have enough here,” says Johnny Doyle.

Gooch expressed concern over whether the Royals’ long wait for a championship match might cost them at Aughrim — whether they will be caught cold by the likes of Seanie Furlong:

“Meath have had a long wait for a championship match. Wicklow beat Longford, which I didn’t tip them to do in the first round so that was a bit of a surprise for me. Wicklow will be buoyant but Meath will have their eye on getting to a Leinster final this year under their new manager. Meath for me there.”

All of our ambassadors have gone for Meath this week, with Mickey Harte pointing to tradition as a factor: 

“Wicklow had a surprise result against Longford but you’d have to go for Meath. They’ve a tradition as a Leinster team for winning titles which Wicklow just don’t have.”

Mickey Harte

Meath

Colm Cooper

Meath

Ciarán Whelan

Meath

Johnny Doyle

Meath

Donie Shine

Meath

Michael Murphy

Meath

 

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.