GAA Expert & Columnist
Peter Canavan column: Mayo to set up Connacht final with Galway
Last Updated: 25/05/19 7:26am
Sky Sports GAA analyst Peter Canavan looks ahead to the weekend's Gaelic football action, including Mayo v Roscommon which is being shown live on Sky Sports.
The real business starts now for Mayo. They're no longer in New York. Saturday evening sees them face a team that know them inside-out and have performed well against them in recent years. They're playing against a team that are more than capable of causing a shock.
I think James Horan will definitely be wary of Roscommon. On their day, the Rossies can put it up to anyone. Diarmuid Murtagh is back from injury, while Conor Cox has been their best player in the National League. They now have more fire-power up front than they had in previous seasons.
Anthony Cunningham's side do possess a threat going forward. But Mayo will believe they can expose and hurt them at the back.
James has brought in new players, and the whole squad looks renewed. He's wiped the slate clean. There's a freshness about them - there's an energy that comes with playing under a new manager. I do believe they appear to be more aggressive in their approach. They're prepared to take teams head-on, man-for-man, because they believe they're good enough to do that.
I still think they have to unearth one or two forwards that are going to make a real difference in the championship, and we may get a sign of that on Saturday,
It's hard to look past this rejuvenated Mayo team. If their head is in the right place, they have enough seasoned campaigners to get them through to a Connacht final.
Roscommon will undoubtedly make it difficult for Mayo, but it's going to be Mayo v Galway in the decider.
Donegal primed for opener
Division 2 gave Declan Bonner a chance to blood new players. They did very well, not only to get promoted but actually to win it. In terms of potential, they have outstanding players and young players coming up. With Paddy McBrearty coming back in, they will be even stronger.
Of all the games involving the big guns this weekend, the best chance of an upset could be in Brewster Park. You'll have a fired-up Fermanagh team who will make life very difficult.
When the two teams played them in Clones last year, Donegal enjoyed the wide open spaces, as they did in Croke Park against Meath. They'll find that space will be at a premium at Brewster Park.
It will be closer than many people suggest, but it's still very hard to look past a Donegal victory.
Those in favour of maintaining the provincial championships will point to last weekend in Ulster, where you had two quality games. Those opposed will look at Tyrone v Antrim and Dublin v Louth this weekend, which will more than likely end up as one-sided affairs.
The jury is still out, and I think it's only a matter of time before it's tweaked. It's no coincidence that the best games are played when teams play against sides of similar standard. Cavan v Monaghan and Down v Armagh last weekend were a testament to that.
But a Division 1 team playing against a Division 4 side doesn't benefit anybody.
Sky Sports' live GAA coverage continues on Saturday, May 25 as Mayo face Roscommon in the Connacht Football Championship on Sky Sports Arena from 7pm, with build-up starting on the red button from 6pm.