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 10The final two provincial finals are played out this weekend while the qualifiers are really starting to hot up.

Have a quick look at our Power Rankings, and read how our GAA ambassadors think this weekend's games will go before playing our 'Win, Lose or Draw' game.

DONEGAL v MONAGHAN

Donegal are always a box office attraction and this Sunday another knockout will land them a first ever three-in-a-row of Ulster titles. That has only ever been done before by Antrim, Armagh, Cavan and Down.

Tyrone have won four provincial crowns in the new millennium and Mickey Harte led them to three All-Irelands, but he never managed an Ulster treble.

“It would appear that the gap is narrowing. Donegal beat us fair and square but were probably flattered a bit by the two-goal difference. They had enough to win by all means but it could have been a closer affair if we’d been more accurate with our own chances and a bit meaner at the back.

“Donegal brushed Down aside just 12 months ago but Down pushed Donegal all the way this year. We have to figure out does that mean Donegal just aren’t at the level they were at last year or are they pacing themselves for the last eight? We won’t know that until we see this Ulster final.

“I expect that Monaghan will have gained confidence from how close Down were able to push Donegal. They’ll probably apply a similar template to try and contain them as well.

"Monaghan will believe they’re in with a shout here but I think that the experience that Donegal have gained over the last three years will be enough to see them through to the last eight.”

Monaghan have actually beaten Donegal in their four most recent championship games stretching back to 1985 so Jim McGuinness and Co are fighting against history here.

Last Five Championship Clashes
2008: Monaghan 0-16 Donegal 0-15 (Round 2 qualifiers)
2007: Monaghan 2-12 Donegal 1-7 (Round 3 qualifiers)
1995: Monaghan 1-14 Donegal 0-8 (Ulster quarter-final)
1985: Monaghan 1-14 Donegal 0-7 (Ulster quarter-final)
1983: Donegal 1-14 Monaghan 1-9 (Ulster semi-final)

Mickey Harte

Donegal

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Colm Cooper

Donegal

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Ciarán Whelan

Donegal

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Johnny Doyle

Donegal

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Donie Shine

Donegal

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Michael Murphy

Donegal

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MAYO v LONDON
Mayo are bidding to win a Connacht treble for the first time since 1950 against a London team that’s attempting to win the crown for the first time.

At 1/500, it’s safe to say that there are very few people backing Paul Coggins to do what he did in 2011 and take Mayo all the way. That time, Mayo needed extra time to win their Connacht clash in Ruislip.

Donie Shine knows both teams well: “You might see London sticking with them for the first 20 minutes. It might be tight at that stage. Mayo should pull clear and win the game fairly easily.”

Last Five Championship Clashes
2011: Mayo 0-19 London 2-10 (Connacht quarter-final AET)
2006: Mayo 1-18 London 0-8 (Connacht quarter-final)
1996: Mayo 1-11 London 1-5 (Connacht quarter-final)
1991: Mayo 6-14 London 2-9 (Connacht quarter-final)
1986: Mayo 3-14 London 0-4 (Connacht quarter-final)

Mickey Harte

Mayo

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Colm Cooper

Mayo

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Ciarán Whelan

Mayo

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Johnny Doyle

Mayo

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Donie Shine

Mayo

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Michael Murphy

Mayo

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KILDARE v TYRONE
This will be the biggest test of Kieran ‘Geezer’ McGeeney’s famed record in the qualifiers. His side have never been beaten in the back door but not too many of our ambassadors agree with Lilywhites star Johnny Doyle.

“From the neutral point of view you could understand why people would say it’s a very tough task for us to get our game face on to face Tyrone, especially after the drubbing against Dublin,” Doyle explains.

“Most people will give Tyrone the nod and I can understand that because you’re just judging form. But with a little bit of experience and composure, Meath could have been Leinster Champions last week so you just don’t know.”

The winner will face Meath and Tyrone manager Harte, in his county’s third ever championship meeting with the Lilies, fancies his own charges, as you’d expect.

“I was in Newbridge last Saturday where I saw Louth and Kildare serve up a wonderful game of football. We know Kildare pretty well now anyway – this is our third time to play them this year. We also played them twice last year.

“I don’t think there’ll be anything strange or new from either side. It’s a question of who brings their best game to Newbridge on Saturday night. That’s who will be playing Meath.

“It speaks for itself. We’re two Division 1 sides playing each other at this stage of the competition. Somebody’s going to fall and somebody’s going to go through. You can’t sneak your way into the last eight. You’ve got to win your way there. That’s where we find ourselves.”

Mickey Harte

Tyrone

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Colm Cooper

Tyrone

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Ciarán Whelan

Tyrone

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Johnny Doyle

Kildare

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Donie Shine

Tyrone

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Michael Murphy

Tyrone

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WEXFORD v LAOIS
The sides have met in the championship since 2008 when Wexford made it through to the Leinster final against Dublin, but were beaten 3-23 to 0-9 at Croke Park.

This qualifier game is at Wexford Park but, outside of that win five years ago, the O’Moore County have very much been in charge with this fixture.

“This one is evenly matched,” says our GAA star Johnny Doyle. “After the exit in Leinster and the loss of some players Stateside, you’d think it was all doom and gloom for Laois.

"I was talking to some of the supporters down there and they weren’t too hopeful for the year but they’re after changing things around and all of a sudden things aren’t as bad as first thought.

“Wexford in Wexford Park is always tough and I always liked the kind of football they play. I think they’ve fantastic footballers throughout the team. Would be very hesitant but Wexford just get my vote.”

Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper isn’t so sure: “You could probably make arguments for both teams. Maybe Wexford at home would get a slight advantage but I think Laois will really be up for this one too.

"It wouldn’t surprise me to see this one going to extra time. If I was to put my head on the block at that stage, I think Laois might just sneak through.” 

Last Five Championship Clashes
2008: Wexford 0-18 Laois 0-12 (Leinster semi-final)
2007: Laois 1-13 Wexford 0-13 (Leinster semi-final)
2003: Laois 1-19 Wexford 0-10 (Leinster 1st round)
2001: Laois 0-18 Wexford 0-14 (Leinster 1st round)
1968: Laois 2-12 Wexford 1-9 (Leinster 1st round)

Mickey Harte

Wexford

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Colm Cooper

DRAW

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Ciarán Whelan

Wexford

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Johnny Doyle

Wexford

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Donie Shine

Wexford

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Michael Murphy

Laois

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GALWAY v ARMAGH
It’s a fixture that in other years would be mouth-watering but the poor performances of both in their provincial championships — Galway hammered by Mayo; Cavan scalping Armagh — has taken the shine off this one.

The Tribe have scraped past Tipperary and Waterford at home in the qualifiers since and all bar Donegal’s Michael Murphy are going with the away win here.

“Armagh will be very confident,” says Donie Shine. “They put up a huge scoreline against Leitrim. They probably haven’t been tested as much as they’d like but they’ll be full of confidence. Galway only snuck by Waterford so there’ll be a lot of negativity around the camp. If they did go out against Armagh, I’d say there’d be a lot of supporters unhappy with the whole season.”

The only other time these two met in championship action was in a Round 3 qualifier in 2001 when the Tribe went on to win an All-Ireland, with the Orchard County recovering to do so a year later. Neither side looks ready for that at this point.

Mickey Harte is edging towards his old foes: “Galway haven’t been setting the world alight but sometimes that’s a good thing for them. They got past Tipperary without being at their best or anything near it.

"They had a fright against Waterford which would have been a serious shock to the system.

“For Armagh there will be a worry that they beat two Division 4 teams with huge margins – it’s a huge variable and it’s difficult to say how that will pan out. I’m gambling that Armagh’s confidence will tip it in their favour.”

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

Galway

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DERRY v CAVAN
Again Michael Murphy is the only one of our ambassadors to go against the grain. Five of the six are going with Derry, and who better to tell us why than Mickey Harte.

“Well firstly had my predictions last week gone well, this fixture would see Down playing Fermanagh!

"I still think that Derry at home at Celtic Park are very difficult to beat. Cavan are an up-and-coming side who still have a bit to do to be up to the level of Derry’s proper form.

“The incentive of meeting the losing Connacht Finalist en route to the quarter final will spur both teams on and while I think this young Cavan side will push Derry close, they won’t have enough to pull off the win.”

Last Five Championship Clashes
2004: Derry 0-25 Cavan 2-9 (All-Ireland qualifiers Round 2 AET)
2001: Derry 1-14 Cavan 2-7 (All-Ireland qualifiers Round 4)
1999: Derry 2-14 Cavan 0-5 (Ulster quarter-final replay)
1999: Derry 2-15 Cavan 2-15 (Ulster quarter-final)
1997: Cavan 1-14 Derry 0-16 (Ulster final)

Mickey Harte

Derry

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Colm Cooper

Derry

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Ciarán Whelan

Derry

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Johnny Doyle

Derry

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Donie Shine

Derry

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Michael Murphy

Cavan

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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.