Pundit predictions: 2022 Football Championship

The RTÉ pundits make their predictions ahead of the start of the 2022 championship.


Leinster

Dublin celebrated with the Delaney Cup last year

Kevin McStay: DUBLIN – They’ll be too strong for Kildare and will take another provincial title

Colm Boyle: DUBLIN – Dublin’s form in the League, everyone is going to be interested to see what Dublin team comes forward for the championship. I still think they are going to be strong and going to be there or thereabouts. I expect them to come through Leinster.

Noelle Healy: DUBLIN – I don’t think Dessie Farrell’s side will have it every which way. They have shown a little bit of weakness throughout the League and can be bullied a little bit now, which they would never have shown before, but I still think they will have enough to win Leinster.

Eamonn Fitzmaurice: DUBLIN – Despite league form, Dublin will again be hard to beat over the championship, never mind Leinster. If they are as inconsistent as they were in the league, Meath or Kildare could take them out, but I’m expecting them to be a different Dublin come championship.


Munster

Kerry are bidding for a ninth Munster title in nine years

Kevin McStay: KERRY – Cork v Kerry hasn’t the same jizz as it once had. Can’t see any problems for Jack O’Connor’s side in Munster.

Colm Boyle: KERRY – Hard to imagine any slip-ups from the All-Ireland favorites.

Noelle Healy: KERRY – Possibly the only province where I can’t see too much competition for the title.

Eamonn Fitzmaurice: KERRY – Kerry are in a good place, but the questions that need to be answered are likely to come further down the line.


Connacht

Mayo will have to beat Galway, and most likely Roscommon, if they are to retain the Nestor Cup

Kevin McStay: GALWAY – Connacht is the trickiest of the provinces with the way the draw has worked out. Mayo are at home to Galway, but not going well, so I think the Tribesmen will advance to the final, where I think they could edge Roscommon in the decider.

Noelle Healy: GALWAY – I think everybody thought Galway were going to stroll through Division 2 and railroad Mayo possibly as well. James Horan’s side were brushed aside by Kerry later that day in Croke Park and are struggling with an awful lot of injuries. While Roscommon are motoring well, I’m tentatively backing Galway to come out on top.

Colm Boyle: MAY – Roscommon are probably favorites at the moment and realistically will make the final, so they need just one big performance. Everyone is saying Mayo, but they have a real battle on their hands to retain the title. I’ll give them the nod to do so, but they need to get some of their injured players back and will have a real fight on their hands.

Eamonn Fitzmaurice – ROSCOMMON – Roscommon will get a lot out of the Mayo v Galway game and are going really well. Ultan Harney and Eddie Nolan at midfield frees up Enda Smith to move further forward and gives them a great punch in attack.


Ulster

Will the All-Ireland champions retain their provincial crown?

Kevin McStay – DONEGAL – All-Ireland champions Tyrone will beat Fermanagh, but will have an awful job of beating Derry on their own patch, and are likely to have Monaghan awaiting in the semi-final. If they come through that, they could be running on fumes. On the other side by contrast, whoever wins Donegal v Armagh has a tap-in of a semi-final against Cavan or Antrim. Donegal will be hugely primed for Armagh and I think they will take Ulster.

Colm Boyle – TYRONE – Ulster is a minefield. I would still slightly fancy the All-Ireland champions, but I was thinking during the week about the players they have lost. Their strength in depth can’t be what it was last year or two. If they lost a Peter Harte, or Darren McCurry, they would be in major trouble. One to 15 they are as strong as what is out there and I would still have them as favorites for Ulster.

Noelle Healy – DONEGAL – Ulster it is wide open. Armagh could struggle with a few players missing and I’d fancy Donegal for Ulster. I think losing panel members like Tyrone have lost is a massive blow.

Eamonn Fitzmaurice – ARMAGH – Kieran McGeeney will feel they are at the point where they have to get silverware on the board because the development has been pretty consistent

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