Leinster, Connacht, Munster and Ulster Football Championship final: Peter Canavan’s predictions | GAA News

Kildare meets Dublin at Croke Park on Saturday

Kildare meets Dublin at Croke Park on Saturday

It’s a big weekend with all four provincial finals up for grabs.

Dubs ahead of upcoming Kildare

This is Dublin’s first real test of the summer.

Kildare is more than capable of competing with Dessie Farrell’s charges. I think the Lilywhites still have some work to do in terms of their development.

They’ve made tremendous strides under Glenn Ryan and his backroom team. They are clearly a united team playing for each other.

And they were unlucky to be relegated from Division 1 to the National League given the quality of football they played in the spring, narrowly losing in a string of games. You didn’t deserve to go back to Division 2.

But while Kildare are an emerging team, Dublin have found their mojo back.

The Dubs have moved well in their last two games, beating Wexford and Meath. Her feet are light again and her movements were top notch. I assume they will keep the Delaney Cup.

Dublin seemed to have found their spark in Leinster's quarter-final win over Wexford

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Dublin seemed to have found their spark in Leinster’s quarter-final win over Wexford

Dublin seemed to have found their spark in Leinster’s quarter-final win over Wexford

Given the firepower of Kildare, they must take on the reigning champions. That could make them vulnerable from behind and that would worry me. Dublin’s forward line, especially if Con O’Callaghan is back in the form he’s in, could do some damage.

Ryan’s side have gone 3-43 in their first two games this summer, leaving their forwards capable of hurting Dublin on one end. But they could have had a busy afternoon with the way this Dublin team is scoring at the moment.

Kildare won that game in the league and that will give them great confidence. But Newbridge in winter is a world away from Croke Park at the end of May. Dublin loves to play at HQ. They maximize the width and size of the pitch to create scoring chances.

I just can’t imagine the Lilywhites coping with the style of this Dublin team at the moment.

If they can get within six or seven points of the dubs, I think they’ll do well.

Galway wins tight Connacht final

I would rank the Tribesmen as easy favorites here.

It will be exciting to see how both teams approach this game tactically.

We know Galway is a powerful force for the future. But we saw a different side against Mayo when they played defensively.

Will they be lined up similarly on Sunday? Or will they go after Roscommon and play a more expansive game plan? It’s a big decision for Padraic Joyce.

Roscommon sat between the sides in the Division 2 final

Roscommon sat between the sides in the Division 2 final

The Rossies will not fear their opponents. They’ve already beaten her twice this year.

In previous seasons, Galway may have gone into this game thinking they were head and shoulders ahead of Roscommon. But they are not.

Anthony Cunningham’s side have quality players across the field. They are robust, physical and leave nothing to be desired when it comes to intensity.

So much will depend on the strikers. Damien Comer and Shane Walsh against Donie Smith and Enda Smith who always plays well against Galway.

It’s going to be a close game. I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes into overtime. But I can’t imagine Galway allowing Roscommon to beat them three times in a row.

Kerry will have too much for Limerick

Billy Lee has written a remarkable success story. Earlier in the year not many would have chosen Limerick for promotion from Division 3 or a place in a Munster final.

But that’s a big step up.

Saturday is all about being competitive and making life miserable for the kingdom.

The contract will give encouragement to how Cork were able to frustrate Kerry by playing a double and dropping one of his midfielders. I wouldn’t be surprised if they lined up similarly.

But if you look at the strength of Jack O’Connor’s panel and the quality he has to jump off the bench, Kerry will have too much for Limerick.

The bookies might not be too wrong in predicting a substantial profit margin here.

Kerry is hot favorite to keep the title in Munster

Kerry is hot favorite to keep the title in Munster

Donegal to pass Derry Test?

I would put Donegal as easy favorites here.

The big theme is hunger and motivation. When they were last in an Ulster final two years ago, the hungrier team won. They were surpassed by Cavan for intensity and speed of work.

This is Donegal’s 10th Ulster final in 12 years and if they show any signs of catching on Derry will eat them up.

I wrote last week about Oak Leaf County being the real deal. There is a lot of energy in County Derry at the moment and the fans are behind this team.

Derry have improved since losing to Donegal last year

Derry have improved since losing to Donegal last year

As their victories over Tyrone and Monaghan have shown, they are in good shape and know exactly what they are doing.

I think Declan Bonner will try to replicate the Derry style. Donegal will be playing behind the ball at 15. You have the ball carriers to play this type of game. The speed is there to deploy a counterattack style.

They also have the players who can score from distance.

I don’t think Donegal will be as stubborn as Monaghan at graduation. So if they can match the intensity of Derry, I assume Donegal will have the firepower to take this one down.

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