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 11We’re getting down to the nitty-gritty now after Monaghan and Mayo joined Kerry and Dublin as kings of their own local realms.

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 LAOIS
A first ever championship meeting between these two sides and just a six-day turnaround for our ambassador Michael Murphy, who played in the Ulster final loss to Monaghan.

“Obviously, we’re hurting. I suppose with the six-day turnaround, it’s really about putting Sunday behind us as fast as possible. This group of players win together and lose together and that’s where we are this week. We’ve come a long way in the last three years. We’re not going to stop now.”

Ciaran Whelan begs to differ: “I never fancied Donegal to retain the All-Ireland. I still think they can beat formidable opponents and there could be one big performance in them if they face the likes of Dublin.

“Last week they were missing vital components with Karl Lacey not fully fit, Mark McHugh injured and Neil Gallagher not starting. They looked flat. They missed a lot of tackles. Their defensive line wasn’t there as Monaghan beat fire with fire and beat them at their own game as deserved winners.

“I would have a lot of respect for what Jimmy McGuinness has done in building that team. They have so much know-how banked in terms of winning a game. As much as it would be difficult going to Carrick-On-Shannon, I think there will be a big difference in terms of physique in the two teams. For that reason alone, I think Donegal will have enough to get over Laois.”

Mickey Harte

Donegal

Join my league

Colm Cooper

Donegal

Join my league

Ciarán Whelan

Donegal

Join my league

Johnny Doyle

Donegal

Join my league

Donie Shine

Donegal

Join my league

Michael Murphy

Donegal

Join my league

CORK v GALWAY
In name, it’s certainly the most glamorous of the Round Four qualifiers but each of our GAA stars is convinced that the Rebels will make it to the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

“Cork weren’t great in the Munster final,” says Donie Shine. “They’d a poor opening half but you’d imagine they’d have their homework done and a few changes made for the Galway game.

“They won’t be happy with their performance and you’ll see an improved Cork at the weekend. It’s great for Galway that they’re back in Croke Park. Cork will still have enough and they’ll probably pull away by a few in the end.”

Galway are seeking their first championship win in Croke Park since beating Meath in the 2001 All-Ireland final. Since then they lost to Kerry (2002 and 2008), Tyrone (2004) and Cork (2005) while they drew with Donegal in 2003.They are attempting to reach the All-Ireland quarter-final for the first time since 2008 while Cork are bidding to reach the last eight for the ninth successive year

Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper played for Kerry when they beat Galway in a rain-drenched epic at Croke Park in 2008. “After the heavy defeat to Mayo, people were wondering what was going on in Galway and how were they going to turn a corner,” the Kerry star says.

“In fairness, they’ve knuckled down and against all the odds they’ve come through. The win against Armagh in particular will give them great confidence.

Cork finished very strong against ourselves in the Munster final. I think they’ve learned an awful lot from that game in terms of their set up. There’s still a kick in Cork. They’re that little bit more balanced across the field and they’ll be too strong for Galway. Cork will have a big say in this championship yet.”

Mickey Harte

Cork

Join my league

Colm Cooper

Cork

Join my league

Ciarán Whelan

Cork

Join my league

Johnny Doyle

Cork

Join my league

Donie Shine

Cork

Join my league

Michael Murphy

Cork

Join my league

MEATH v TYRONE
This is just a third ever championship meeting between the sides and Tyrone come into it on the back of a fine win in Kildare, while Meath acquitted themselves very well against Dublin in the Leinster final.

“If you were to pick a game for an upset, this has the potential for it but I just think that Mickey Harte is still one of the most astute tacticians involved,” says our GAA ambassador Ciaran Whelan.

“He showed that last week against by making it very difficult for Kildare to penetrate in the first half. They still are reliant on Stephen O’Neill in their inside forward line and I don’t think they’ll win the All-Ireland this year. But they are last eight or even last four contenders and they’ll edge this one.”

Kildare’s Johnny Doyle played against the Red Hands in Newbridge last weekend so he knows precisely what old foes Meath are up against.

“We don’t have any more allegiance to Tyrone than we do to Meath but you’re looking for reassurance that you’re not as bad a team as you think you are after you lose. You want to be able to say at least you were beaten by a good team.

“It’s more of a selfish thing than anything else. That’s just human nature. That said, I wouldn’t be overly surprised if Meath won.

"Croke Park will suit them and they’ll have taken a huge amount of belief out of the Dublin game. They’ve got some new talent that’s full of running and full of speed that could cause Tyrone trouble.”

Mickey Harte

Tyrone

Join my league

Colm Cooper

Tyrone

Join my league

Ciarán Whelan

Tyrone

Join my league

Johnny Doyle

Tyrone

Join my league

Donie Shine

Tyrone

Join my league

Michael Murphy

Tyrone

Join my league

LONDON v CAVAN
Our last preview shares something with our first this week: it’s a first ever championship meeting between the sides. London have had something of a fairytale season but Mayo held them down throughout the Connacht final last weekend.

Not one of our ambassadors sees them upsetting a Cavan team playing it’s sixth championship game of the season, but first against a non-Ulster side.

“You’d have to fancy Cavan with a few to spare,” says Donie Shine. “To be honest I don’t see London sticking with them at all. The wind will be taken out of their sails after the weekend and I’d expect Cavan to put up a big score.”

Johnny Doyle reckons London will enjoy the experience of playing at the GAA’s flagship venue. “I’ve nearly played more matches in Croke Park than I have in Newbridge but you never forget your first time. There’s a huge wow factor. It’s something that they’ll tell their grandkids about.

“But being there won’t be enough for them and they’ll want to win so I think you’ll see the best of Cavan this weekend.”

Mickey Harte

Cavan

Join my league

Colm Cooper

Cavan

Join my league

Ciarán Whelan

Cavan

Join my league

Johnny Doyle

Cavan

Join my league

Donie Shine

Cavan

Join my league

Michael Murphy

Cavan

Join my league

The provincial breakdown of the twelve teams still in the All-Ireland race is as follows:
4: Ulster (Monaghan, Donegal, Tyrone, Cavan)
3: Connacht (Mayo, Galway, London)
3: Leinster: (Dublin, Laois, Meath)
2: Munster (Kerry, Cork)

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.