Last Sunday in Clones, we witnessed football performance of year when mighty men from Monaghan beat All Ireland Champions Donegal to win Ulster Football title for first time in 25 years. Ciarán McGowan reviews action.

In winning, Monaghan displayed a grit, determination and cuteness that set out a blueprint for how to beat Donegal at their own game. To be fair to Donegal, they had a rare ‘off day’ and may still be in reckoning come September – no doubt Laois will have something to say about that when both sides meet this Saturday in Carrick on Shannon.  Nonetheless, Monaghan have to be congratulated for crafting a superb performance that sent a marker to remaining counties in this year’s championship. Their next day out will be a quarter final and it will be intriguing to see whether this was a one off performance or whether they are genuine championship contenders

We are now entering business end of season as each game from here on is a knockout – no back door and no second chances.  This time next week, we will know who has made it to last four in Hurling and last eight in Football – this is a huge weekend for both codes.

GAA fixtures this weekend

Hurling:

Kilkenny v Cork (Sunday 28th July 14:00 GMT)

It’s very hard to back against Kilkenny in this game. While they look like a team in decline, they still have talent and experience to beat a Cork team that underperformed against Limerick. Cork are still in development as a team and I don’t believe they are yet at level to beat Kilkenny.

Prediction - Kilkenny

Galway v Clare (Sunday 28th July 16:00 GMT)

This is a tough one to call. Galway were decisively beaten by Dublin in Leinster final while Clare took a heavy beating from Cork in Munster semi-final.  There is great young talent in Clare while Galway have experience of an All-Ireland final last year. Both teams will be bitterly disappointed with their last outing so both teams have something to prove. I think this will be very close but I’m going for Clare on basis that I think they are just that bit more talented across their team while Galway rely heavily on great Joe Canning.

Prediction - Clare

Football:

Saturday 27th July

Cavan v London (15:00 GMT)      Prediction - Cavan but well done to London for getting this far

Cork v Galway (17:00 GMT)         Prediction - Cork

Donegal v Laois (17:00 GMT)       Prediction – Donegal

Tyrone v Meath (19:00 GMT)      Prediction - Meath

Picture shows Monaghan's Darren Hughes celebrating team's win in Clones last Sunday.INPHO/Presseye/William Cherry