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Poacher & Varley #8: What is going on in Donegal | Who will join Mayo in the Division 1 final

GAA coach Steven Poacher and former Mayo star Enda Varley get stuck into the week’s big Gaelic football talking points

GAA coach Steven Poacher and former Mayo star Enda Varley get stuck into the week’s big Gaelic football talking points.

Steven Poacher and Enda Varley sink their teeth into the major issues in Gaelic football right this week.

Colm O’Rourke’s Meath, who were criticised for being too open playing against the wind versus Dublin, are struggling right now, and the coach from Down feels that the Royals “were never associated with swashbuckling football”.

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Poacher says: “He’s being stubborn about how he sets up to play. I feel sorry for them young lads.”

Galway host Kerry this weekend knowing that a draw will be enough to secure their place in a national Football League final against Mayo.

The Tribesmen have not beaten the Kingdom since 2018 but Varley believes that “Galway will be a dark horse for this year’s championship”.

Poacher is a former coach with a Roscommon side that have been one of the stories of the league thus far under Davy Burke.

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They went to the Kingdom and gave a good display, but came up short in the end in the last round.

“The football Kerry played in the first ten minutes was incredible against Roscommon,” says Poacher.

“Tyrone would love nothing more but to send Armagh down to Division 2,” adds the Down man, previewing one of the tastiest games this weekend.

TALE OF THE TAPE
Mayo have qualified for the Division 1 final of the Allianz Football League for the second successive year and for the third time in five seasons.

The only unbeaten team in the group, they secured a final place in six games.  

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Their clash with Monaghan in Castlebar next Sunday is far more important to the visitors, who need to win to have any chance of avoiding relegation. 

Mayo’s opponents in the final will be Galway, Kerry, Roscommon or Tyrone. 

All four could end up on eight points, in which case scoring difference would decide who faced Mayo in the final. 

Derry have clinched promotion from Division 2 and will be joined by Dublin or Louth who meet on Sunday.  Cavan will be promoted from Division 3.  
 
DIVISION 1: WHO WILL JOIN MAYO IN THE FINAL? 
Sunday (1.45): Galway v Kerry, Pearse Stadium; Roscommon v Donegal, Dr. Hyde Park; Tyrone v Armagh, Omagh;  Mayo v Monaghan, Hastings Insurance MacHale Park. 

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What’s decided? Mayo have qualified for the final.  
 
What’s to be decided? Galway (8 points), Kerry, Roscommon, Tyrone (6 points each) are all in with a chance of reaching the final. A draw against Kerry would be enough to earn Galway a place in the final, irrespective of results elsewhere. 

Donegal (3), Monaghan (4), Armagh (5) have relegation concerns, with Donegal most at risk as they not only need to beat Roscommon but also hope other results go their way to have any chance of avoiding the drop. 

Sunday’s Games 
Galway are seeking their first win over Kerry since 2018 when they won a Division 1 game by three points.

Kerry have won four times since then – by a point in the 2019  and 2020 Leagues; by 23 points in the 2021 League and by four points in last year’s All-Ireland final. 

Roscommon and Donegal last met in the League in 2017 when Donegal won by a point. Mayo beat Monaghan by two points in last year’s League. 

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Tyrone and Armagh met twice last year, with Armagh winning both. They won by six points in both the League and All-Ireland championship qualifier.  
 
TOP SCORERS 
Ryan O’Donoghue (Mayo)…… 2-22 (16 frees, 1 mark) 
Darren McCurry (Tyrone)………0-26 (18 frees, 1 mark) 
Rian O’Neill (Armagh)…………..0-24 (13 frees, 4’45s’, 1 mark) 
Matthew Tierney (Galway)……..3-13 (0-5 frees, 0-01 ‘45’) 
Diarmuid Murtagh (Roscommon)…1-15 (0-9 frees) 

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