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National League: Three teams that need a win this weekend

In a big weekend, what teams are in need of a win?

Jack O'Connor Kerry League

It is a bumper weekend in the Allianz Hurling and Football League, with big showdowns in store in both codes. Here, we look at three teams who need to deliver victories.

Donegal (vs Galway, NFL Division 1)

Paddy Carr’s charges made a positive start to the league with a home win over an understrength Kerry, but things have gone downhill since then.

The Ulster side lost back-to-back games at the hands of Tyrone and Monaghan, both by eight points, and now find themselves at the bottom of the Division 1 table.

The clash in Clones was deemed a real four-pointer, and judging by the margins of defeat in recent weeks, they are the favourites in many peoples’ minds to go down.

Victory over Galway would ease fears of the drop, as they look to build under the new management ahead of the championship. But the Tribesmen are beginning to gather momentum after their first win of the campaign last weekend, and Pádraic Joyce’s team will travel to Letterkenny bidding to keep pace with the leading pack in Division 1.

Kerry (vs Armagh, NFL Division 1)

Jack O’Connor has always put stock in the National League, and it was widely accepted that he would have been bitterly disappointed with the Kingdom’s display in Castlebar last Saturday night.

With several big guns returning, they will be eager to lay down a marker when Armagh come to Tralee on Saturday night.

Both teams enter the Austin Stack Park encounter off the back of losses, and defeat for either side would alter the outlook for the remainder of the National League campaign.

The All-Ireland champions have made a slow start to 2023 – despite an inexperienced side overwhelming Monaghan in Killarney three weeks ago. They need a home victory on Saturday night to get them back on track.

Dublin (vs Tipperary, NHL Division 1B)

The Micheál Donoghue era has made a decent start, with an away draw with Waterford followed by a narrow victory at home against Antrim that should have been by a greater winning margin.

Much has been made of the absentees from the Dubs’ panel this term, but the Galway native has introduced new faces. Paddy Doyle and Chris O’Leary in particular have taken their chances.

Saturday evening presents an opportunity to take a big scalp, with Tipperary coming to town. A home win against the high-flying Premier County would be a major fillup for this young side, and it would also put them firmly in control of their own destiny, in pursuit of a semi-final spot.

Winning at Croke Park is never a bad thing, and the 2021 Leinster semi-final against Galway aside, it is a venue where the Dublin hurlers have struggled to deliver wins in recent years.

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