Cork v Kildare
Cork started their campaign with a win at home to Westmeath while Kildare edged a shootout with Mayo by a point. Kildare won this fixture last season. Both sides are under new management with players eager to impress their respective managers. Cork have been forgotten about in the contenders conversation but they pushed Dublin hard in last year’s All Ireland quarter final. They have had retirement but have a wealth of talent to call upon to replace those players. Before last season they had won three league title in a row. Kildare have started this year well and will be buoyed by their last gasp win over Mayo.
Kerry v Derry
It is a long way from Derry to Kerry but that is the journey the northern side will take this weekend to face the Kingdom. Derry clawed their way back to draw with Tyrone last weekend while Kerry were narrow losers against Dublin. Kerry will be without their Dr Crokes contingent due to All Ireland club commitments but this provides Eamonn Fitzmaurice the opportunity to cast an eye over other members of his panel. Kerry are further ahead in their preparations than this time last year and will not be whipping boys for teams like last season. Derry will be hoping to add to their point earned in the league so far and put some distance between them and the relegation zone. They may find adding to their total a task in Killarney.
Tyrone v Mayo
Mayo travel to Tyrone for a rematch of last year’s All Ireland semi final, a game that was won by the Connacht champions. Tyrone won this encounter when the sides met in the league last year in Castlebar. Both sides are awaiting their first win in this year’s league. Tyrone drew with Derry last week while Mayo lost by a point to Kildare. Mayo have made one change to their starting team for this week’s game while Tyrone have made five. Both sides are trying out players and new positions for players as they plan for bigger games in the Summer. Tyrone have had a good Winter so far, qualifying for the Mc Kenna Cup final, though they will be disappointed to not have gathered all two points on offer last weekend against Derry. Mayo are a little behind the other teams in their training. They have an experimental side named for this week but with some seasoned players playing, some in new positions. It is a difficult one to call but the Westerners may have enough to see them over the line in Omagh.
Westmeath v Dublin
Dublin make the short journey to Mullingar to take on new boys to the division Westmeath. These sides met in the Leinster quarter final where Dublin won 1-22 to 0-9. Dublin won their opening game against Kerry while Westmeath lost in Cork. Life will be difficult in Division for Westmeath who may find the step up from Division 2 a bit too large. Dublin have a deep panel to choose from and will always be a difficult opponent in the league. Westmeath will battle well at home but ultimately come up short on Sunday.