GAA talking points: Can Kerry make a statement?
Last Updated: 08/02/19 6:10pm
Ahead of the weekend's GAA action, we take a look at the main talking points.
Can Kerry make a statement?
With two wins from two, Kerry are off to a flying start under Peter Keane. However, it's set to go up a level in Tralee on Saturday night as All-Ireland champions Dublin come to town.
The Kingdom's youngsters have passed the two tests thus far with flying colours but won't have things all their own way against a Dublin team quickly adjusting to the pace after a late start to their preseason.
Nonetheless, a win at Austin Stack Park would represent a major milestone for this young team as they aim to bounce back following a disappointing 2018. In Kerry, All-Ireland titles are generally the only metric regarded in end of year accounts, but this is a coming team and trumping the Dubs would signal real progress.
Can Mayo continue winning start?
James Horan is well and truly up and running in his second stint as Mayo boss. The Connacht side are two wins from two ahead of the visit of Cavan to Castlebar on Saturday, and will fancy their chances of accounting for the Breffni.
Horan has opted for five changes from the side that demolished Tyrone in Omagh, with David Clarke replacing Rob Hennelly between the sticks.
Young players are continuing to burst through, with the experienced contingent picking up game-time. In all, Mayo are motoring along nicely as Horan looks to build a squad capable of challenging in the summer.
Will the real Tyrone please stand up?
The Red Hands were touted as contenders ahead of the Division 1 campaign, after looking sharp on their way to the McKenna Cup title.
However, since then they've failed to raise a glove, scoring an aggregate of just 17 points in losses to Kerry and Mayo.
While the league is a time for learning about your team before the summer, Mickey Harte will know the importance of delivering a result when they travel to Roscommon on Sunday. A loss to the Rossies would mean last year's All-Ireland finalists are in a real relegation scrap, and a run of losses would unsettle a team looking to build on a promising 2018.
Who can seize momentum on moving weekend in Division 2?
The second tier is widely hailed as perhaps the most fiercely contested of all the divisions. After this weekend, it's likely that it will become clear which sides are in the hunt for relegation, and who will be battling relegation.
Donegal are hot favourites to go straight back up, following a perfect start with wins over Clare and Meath. They head to Semple Stadium to take on Tipperary, who are struggling with an injury crisis. The three Munster counties lie bottom of the table with one point each, and all three will be looking to secure a much-needed win this weekend. Cork travel to Ennis to face Clare.
Meanwhile, Kildare are the latest side attempting to break down a resolute Fermanagh defence when they make the trip to Enniskillen, as Meath and Armagh, after promising starts, aim to keep pace with the leaders when they meet in Navan.
It looks like a huge round of games.
Who will reach the St Patrick's Day decider?
The race for the All-Ireland club hurling title is wide open. The Thurles meeting of Ballyhale Shamrocks and Ballygunner is the standout tie, with both sides fancying their chances after impressive provincial titles.
2013 All-Ireland champs St Thomas are favourites to atone for their semi-final loss two years ago and overcome Cushendall at Parnell Park, but the Antrim side won't be lacking in confidence given how they overcame Galway opposition upon their last foray outside of Ulster.
Both of Saturday's encounters are tricky to call.