Posted by Shane Stapleton

Why not read how our GAA ambassadors think this weekend's games will go before playing our 'Win, Lose or Draw' game

02 2013 Ambassador Predictions week 9Hot on the heels of Kerry winning the Munster SFC title after beating Cork last week, Dublin and Meath will fight it out for the Leinster crown this weekend, while four more teams' seasons will end in the qualifiers.

Not every game is an easy call, so take a look at what our GAA ambassadors think before making your predictions in our 'Win, Lose or Draw' game.

DUBLIN v MEATH
The biggest occasion of the weekend. The fierce rivals, the local feud, the Leinster final between the Dubs and the Royals. Dublin are chasing an eighth Delaney Cup in nine seasons while Meath are chasing a first since 2010, when… well, everyone knows what happened three years ago.

Who better to ask about this bitter rivalry than our GAA star Ciaran Whelan. “Meath have done well in the last two games but I just think there’s a massive gulf between the two teams — Dublin are on a different level.

“I can’t see that their defence is going to cope with the Dublin pace. If Meath are going to keep this game tight, they’re going to have to change their gameplan altogether and go very, very defensively.

“I don’t know whether they’re equipped to do it. I don’t know whether they’ll have time to be able to implement it in an effective way – I cannot see beyond a comfortable Dublin win.”

Last Five Championship Clashes
2012: Dublin 2-13 Meath 1-13 (Leinster final)
2010: Meath 5-9 Dublin 0-13 (Leinster semi-final)
2009: Dublin 0-14 Meath 0-12 (Leinster quarter-final)
2007: Dublin 0-16 Meath 0-12 (Leinster quarter-final replay)
2007: Dublin 1-11 Meath 0-14 (Leinster quarter-final)

Mickey Harte

Dublin

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Colm Cooper

Dublin

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Ciarán Whelan

Dublin

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Johnny Doyle

Dublin

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Donie Shine

Dublin

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Michael Murphy

Dublin

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LONGFORD v WEXFORD
Between April 8 and June 10 last year, Longford and Wexford played against each other four times. Glenn Ryan’s men won the first two — both in the league, including the Division 3 final — their Leinster quarter-final was drawn and then won by the Model County.

What built up was a rivalry, not of contempt, but one that produced entertaining football.

Our ambassadors don’t agree on who’s going to win this one. As Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper said: “Wexford have that bit more experience of playing the bigger games against the Dublins of this world. It’s a toss of a coin really but I’d fancy them to come through in this one.”

Donie Shine doesn’t agree: “We’ve played Longford a few times in Pearse Park over the last few years and it’s not easy to get a win there. Wexford are coming off the back of a poor enough display against Meath and I fancy Longford to come through.”

Kildare man Johnny Doyle agrees with Shine. “Wexford have a little bit more about them though. There’s better balance throughout the team with the likes of Ciaran Lyng, Ray Barry and PJ Banville. If Wexford get the shooting boots on I’d expect them to have too much firepower for Longford.”

Last Five Championship Clashes
2012:
Wexford 1-13 Longford 0-15 (Leinster quarter-final) Replay
2012:
Longford 2-9 Wexford 0-15 (Leinster quarter-final)
2000:
Wexford 3-9 Longford 0-12 (Leinster Round Robin)
1999:
Longford 2-15 Wexford 0-11 (Leinster 1st round) Replay
1999:
Longford 1-13 Wexford 0-16 (Leinster preliminary round)

Mickey Harte

Longford

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Colm Cooper

Wexford

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Ciarán Whelan

Wexford

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Johnny Doyle

Wexford

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Donie Shine

Longford

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Michael Murphy

Wexford

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KILDARE v LOUTH
Kildare have an exceptional record in the qualifiers, one that has seen them negotiate their way to the All-Ireland quarter-finals in each of the last five seasons. Manager Kieran ‘Geezer’ McGeeney, of course, has never been beaten in the back door.

He has, however, been taken to extra time as recently as last year by Limerick and by Antrim in 2010 — so there is an opportunity for a Louth team which put them in the qualifiers that same year.

“The manner in which we limped out of the Leinster Championships was very disappointing,” admits Kildare’s Johnny Doyle. “You build yourself up for winning and that’s all that’s in your head. We didn’t do the things we talked about doing for one reason or another.

“They say the measure of a man is how he gets back up when he’s down and that’s what we need to do this week.

“You can feel sorry for yourself on the Monday and just mope around. By the Tuesday you know you have to move forward and look at the next challenge. That challenge is against Louth in Newbridge on Saturday night. We just have to be ready for it. It’s as simple as that. There’s no moping around. You get back up and you start doing the things we’ve worked on all year."

Our ambassador Gooch thinks not all is lost for the Lilies just because they took a hiding from the local kingpins: “Kildare got a bad beating by Dublin but they’ve always come back before and I think it will happen again this time.”

Former Dublin star Ciaran Whelan also feels that Geezer’s men can make amends: “They tend to play well at home in Newbridge. They were tactically very naive in going man-for-man against Dublin and they paid a heavy price.

"I never felt they were going to have the belief to beat Dublin in Croke Park but they are a better team than they showed that day.”

Last Five Championship Clashes
2010: Louth 1-22 Kildare 1-16 (Leinster quarter-final)
2002: Kildare 0-12 Louth 0-11 (Leinster quarter-final)
2000: Kildare 1-12 Louth 0-12 (Leinster quarter-final)
1995: Louth 0-13 Kildare 0-11 (Leinster quarter-final)
1991: Louth 2-11 Kildare 2-10 (Leinster quarter-final)

Mickey Harte

Kildare

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Colm Cooper

Kildare

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Ciarán Whelan

Kildare

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Johnny Doyle

Kildare

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Donie Shine

Kildare

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Michael Murphy

Kildare

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CAVAN v FERMANAGH
Last weekend, Down and Derry had a qualifier rematch of the Ulster clash and the Oak Leafers turned the result on its head. Whereas the first game in the province had been an opening, exciting affair, the back-door tie was far tighter and a low-scoring affair.

Now that Cavan against Fermanagh are also having a round two, supporters will be hoping that their drab first encounter will also go the opposite way and be a classy affair.

“Obviously the first game was very tough and it could have gone either way but there’s something about this Cavan side I really like,” says our ambassador Michael Murphy.

Mickey Harte doesn’t agree: “It took Fermanagh too long to get going and get the first score against Cavan last time out. They did dominate the second half and responded well with their win away to Westmeath and not a lot of people expected that to happen.

“Maybe we’re back in the same syndrome that Down and Derry had – Down had beaten Derry already and failed to do it again so quickly. Fermanagh might have more appetite and it should give them a slight psychological advantage going into the game.”

Last Five Championship Clashes
2013: Cavan 0-13 Fermanagh 0-11 (Ulster quarter-final)
2012: Cavan 3-13 Fermanagh 0-15 (All-Ireland Qualifiers — Round 1)
2010: Fermanagh 1-13 Cavan 0-13 (Ulster quarter-final)
2009: Cavan 0-13 Fermanagh 1-9 (Ulster quarter-final)
2003: Fermanagh 0-16 Cavan 1-10 (All-Ireland qualifiers)

Mickey Harte

Fermanagh

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Colm Cooper

Fermanagh

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Ciarán Whelan

Fermanagh

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Johnny Doyle

Fermanagh

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Donie Shine

Fermanagh

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Michael Murphy

Cavan

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LEITRIM v ARMAGH
Armagh absolutely hammered Wicklow in their last qualifier and went 2-0 to 0-0 up early on. As Mickey Harte points out, with his Tyrone side squeezing past Roscommon after annihilating Offaly, it can be hard to get back on the horse after a cosy canter.

“It’s a strange kind of game in two different ways,” Harte says. “Armagh will probably learn from our experience that it’s very difficult to come off such a high scoring win and expect the same kind of return again is a bit unrealistic.

“I think Leitrim will be very wary of what Roscommon did to us — they closed out the scoring options for long periods of the game and I suppose that would be Leitrim’s idea as well. They can contain Armagh’s prolific scoring, put them under pressure and ask hard questions of them.

“Armagh can equally learn our tough battle to get out of Roscommon so they won’t take Leitrim lightly. That will serve Armagh well too.”

Each of our ambassadors has chosen Armagh, in what will be the first ever championship meeting between the sides. “Paul Grimley seems to have them rejuvenated now,” says Michael Murphy. “Jamie Clarke is also in fine form so they’ll be a dangerous animal for anyone in the qualifiers.”

Donie Shine agrees: “Leitrim shipped a lot of criticism for their performance against London and will be looking for a good performance. Armagh are up and running in the qualifiers and I’d fancy them to come through.”

Mickey Harte

Armagh

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Colm Cooper

Armagh

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Ciarán Whelan

Armagh

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Johnny Doyle

Armagh

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Donie Shine

Armagh

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Michael Murphy

Armagh

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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.