Posted by Shane Stapleton

It’s quarter-finals time — have a look at how our eircom GAA ambassadors think this weekend’s heavyweight clashes will go before playing Win, Lose or Draw

02 2013 Ambassador Predictions week 12It’s quarter-finals time — have a look at how our eircom GAA ambassadors think this weekend’s heavyweight clashes will go before playing Win, Lose or Draw

TYRONE v MONAGHAN
These two teams have walked very different paths to get to the quarter-finals. Tyrone lost to Donegal on day one but negotiated their way back through the qualifiers with wins over Offaly, Roscommon, Kildare and Meath; Monaghan, meanwhile, won Ulster after beating Antrim, Cavan and the mighty Donegal.

As our eircom GAA ambassador Mickey Harte, manager of Tyrone, explains, it will be a tall order to topple a side that has already beaten two of the final eight left in this year’s championship.

“The way Monaghan played against Donegal means they’re as formidable an opposition as anybody left in the competition,” Harte explains.

“Monaghan have the template to beat Donegal and they have the confidence to go with it. I don’t think they’ll change their basic template for us because it has brought them success. I expect them to play with a huge intensity and plenty of people behind the ball to break at pace. They have good men inside to give the ball to as well.

“We’re very happy to be back in the last eight. When we lost to Donegal in Ballybofey it was a huge setback to us after a very successful league campaign. It is a long road back. There were four days when we had to be on top of our game just to get here and we did that.

"Now it’s a question of the balancing act between what those games took out of us and what momentum we’ve gained from them. There’s no real answer to that until we play this quarter final.

“Monaghan play so well as a unit. They have an enthusiasm and an energy that comes with a team who want to go all the way. They fight for everything. Up front in Conor McManus and Kieran Hughes, I don’t think there was a better display by two inside forwards against Donegal in the last three years.”

Last Five Championship Clashes
2011: Tyrone 1-13 Monaghan 1-11 (Ulster quarter-final)
2010: Tyrone 1-14 Monaghan 0-7 (Ulster final)
2007: Tyrone 1-15 Monaghan 1-13 (Ulster final)
2005: Tyrone 2-14 Monaghan 1-7 (Round 4 qualifier)
1988: Monaghan 1-10 Tyrone 0-11 (Ulster final)

Mickey Harte

Tyrone

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Colm Cooper

Tyrone

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Ciarán Whelan

Monaghan

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Johnny Doyle

Tyrone

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Donie Shine

Tyrone

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Michael Murphy

DRAW

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DUBLIN v CORK
The nation’s capital against the people’s republic. Does either team know what its best 15 is — it’s something we’ve looked at in detail this week.

Mickey Harte is the only one of our GAA stars to put his neck on the line here and pick the Rebels, who did just that in 2010 at the semi-final stage.

Ciaran Whelan told us this week about how he would like to see both teams set up but, either way, he expects his beloved Boys in Blue to come through. With the hope that the talismanic presence of a certain forward is around for the latter stages of the championship.

“Everybody was hoping that Alan Brogan would be back fit at this time of the year. He hasn’t played competitive football since the Mayo game last year. It’s very difficult to expect somebody to hit the ground running with so little game time under their belt.

“Even if Alan was fit, the expectations would have to be a lot lower. You can’t expect a guy to just come back in and have a significant impact. Yes, the benefit of his experience with 15 minutes to go would be a huge added bonus for Dublin but they don’t have that.

“They’re going to have to rely on other key players and the strength in depth that they have on their bench. Yes he is a loss and there’s no doubt about it.

"If Dublin do get through this, they’ll hope to use him at a later stage.”

Last Five Championship Clashes
2010:
Cork 1-15 Dublin 1-14 (All-Ireland semi-final)
1995: Dublin 1-12 Cork 0-12 (All-Ireland semi-final)
1989: Cork 2-10 Dublin 1-9 (All-Ireland semi-final)
1983: Dublin 4-15 Cork 2-10 (All-Ireland semi-final replay)
1983: Dublin 2-11 Cork 2-11 (All-Ireland semi-final)

Mickey Harte

Cork

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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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KERRY v CAVAN
The handy draw for Kerry, some people might say, but this has been a year of huge improvement for Cavan. They’ve won five of six championship games and the one game they lost was to the soon-to-be Ulster champions, Monaghan. Perhaps the Breffni County are coming in under the radar.

“People are saying it’s the best draw to get,” says our GAA ambassador Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper. “They said the same thing about Down in 2010 and we got caught. We weren’t ready for the challenge then and that’s what we’ve to guard against now.

“Cavan are there on merit with a lot of successful young players who are going to Croke Park to win. That’s the big thing I see.

“They’ll go to Croke Park very, very hungry. We’ve seen in the last couple of years the likes of Donegal and Mayo coming back. I’ve been impressed with them. They haven’t had any below performance in the championship and Martin Dunne has been scoring all around him. It shows a very good sign of consistency.

“It’s back to Croke Park. It’s a place I love playing more than anywhere else in the country. I always get excited about heading for Dublin. Heading for the big time.

"The body is in good shape and the fact that I’ve had a change in position has helped me transform my game. Playing at centre-forward has given me that extra bit of hunger and desire for this year.”

Last Five Championship Clashes
1997: Kerry 1-17 Cavan 1-10 (All-Ireland semi-final)
1964: Kerry 2-12 Cavan 0-6 (All-Ireland semi-final)
1955: Kerry 4-7 Cavan 0-5 (All-Ireland semi-final replay)
1955: Kerry 2-10 Cavan 1-13 (All-Ireland semi-final)
1947: Cavan 2-11 Kerry 2-7 (All-Ireland final) 

Mickey Harte

Kerry

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Colm Cooper

Kerry

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Ciarán Whelan

Kerry

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Johnny Doyle

Kerry

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Donie Shine

Kerry

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Michael Murphy

Kerry

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DONEGAL v MAYO
A repeat of last year’s All-Ireland final but this time both teams come in with question marks. Mayo waltzed through Connacht with an average winning margin of 15 points, but Donegal were denied an Ulster three in a row by a rabid Monaghan side.

Eircom GAA ambassador and Donegal captain Michael Murphy explains the road back, after last weekend’s qualifier win over Laois.

“The mindset was very positive after the Ulster final defeat and we got stuck into it straight away on the Monday night. Every team in the last eight will tell you there’s room for improvement and we’re no different. We’re under no illusions of the task ahead but we’re happy with the response since the defeat in Clones.

“Mayo have been one of the most consistent team in Ireland over the last number of years. They’ve had a lot of success and they’re absolutely flying this year. Every team in the last eight will be thinking about trying to put their best foot forward.

"They were a massive challenge last year in the All-Ireland final but that was last year. There will be a lot made of it this week but we’re only concentrating on the present and that’s all we can do.

“Mayo are on a high whereas we’re looking to improve as best we can. It’ll come to a head on Sunday and the best team will stand out on the day.

Will last year’s All-Ireland final have an bearing on this game? “Last year is last year,” he says. “There’s a hell of a lot of water under the bridge since then. Maybe it’s a boring answer but it’s the cold heart of the fact that we’re just looking to focus on our own game.”

Previous Championship Clashes
1992:
Donegal 0-13 Mayo 0-9 (All-Ireland semi-final)
2012: Donegal 2-11 Mayo 0-13 (All-Ireland final)

Mickey Harte

Donegal

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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

Donegal

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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.