SATURDAY JULY 3
Quarterfinal: Monaghan v Fermanagh, Clones, 3:30 p.m.,
SUNDAY JULY 4
Quarterfinal: Armagh v Antrim, Athletic Grounds, 3:30 p.m.,
Live blogs on the two games on RTÉ Sport Online and the RTÉ News app.
Both quarter-finals will be broadcast live on BBC Northern Ireland. Viewers outside of Ireland can watch the matches on GAAGO.
Sunday game, RTÉ2 at 9:30 p.m., will be highlights of all the action over the weekend.
Live updates on RTÉ Radio 1.
Partly cloudy Saturday with scattered showers mainly in Muster and Leinster in the morning. Sunny spells and slow thunderstorms will spread from the southwest during the afternoon causing spot flooding in places. Highest temperatures of 17 to 20 degrees.
Sunday will bring heavy, widespread and slow showers with thunderstorms leading to spot flooding. Some sunny spells or short spells too. Humid and rather hot with maximum temperatures of 16 to 20 degrees. To find out more go to met.
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Farey and Erne’s men look to improve in Ulster
The only thing we can say for sure is that on Saturday night at least one of the teams will have improved their performance of 2020.
Monaghan and Fermanagh only had one outing in Ulster last winter, Farney’s men fell dramatically to surprise Cavan, while Fermanagh fell short of pace against Down in the quarterfinals.
Monaghan entered the final campaign with realistic hopes of another Ulster tilt, but where Séamus McEneaney’s side falls in the 2021 pecking order is more difficult to assess.
At times in the league they were unstoppable – seeing the first half blitz against Donegal where Conor McCarthy won a hat-trick – and showed a glimpse against Tyrone and Armagh of what this evolving team is capable of.
Despite all these promises, they failed to secure a victory in a very competitive Division 1 North and used all of their resources to eliminate Galway to the bare minimum after overtime in an absorbing relegation match.
Stephen O’Hanlon and Jack McCarron are trying to ease the burden of responsibility that seems to fall on Conor McManus every year, and Fermanagh will oppose it to keep these attackers silent.
Ryan McMenamin’s side had a distinctly average league campaign – one draw, one win and one loss – but it was the 19-point loss to Derry that stood out.
They fell to Offaly in the semi-finals and will have to upset the form guide, as well as recent history – Monaghan has won four of the last five meetings – if they are to advance to the last four.
Orchard County Ripe for Success?
There is a lot of talk that Armagh, after a number of years in the doldrums, is ready to come out of the shadows in Ulster.
2008 was when Orchard County last tasted provincial success, but Kieran McGeeney built both his panel and his team behind the scenes and there have been encouraging signs in the league.
With the O’Neill brothers, Stefan Campbell and Rory Grugan in good shape up front, they’ll be on hand for even the meanest defense, especially with ex-Kerry Kieran Donaghy bringing his expertise as a ‘offensive coach.
Last year’s outright loss to Donegal will ensure fans don’t get carried away, but anything other than victory over Antrim will be seen as a shock.
Not that McGeeney and his colleagues will dismiss a team that were promoted to Division 3 with a 100% record, although there were tough times in the point wins over Louth and Sligo.
Manager Enda McGinley has said promotion is the top priority for the Saffrons, with the game on the athletic fields being a bit of a free kick.
“If things go well for you today, you can pose a very big challenge for these so-called bigger teams,” he said. The boys are eagerly awaiting him due to the confidence gained in the league.
It was confirmed this week that 1,700 fans will be allowed into the game, with the winner advancing to a semi-final date against the winner of Monaghan and Fermanagh.
Follow all the league games this weekend with our live blogs on RTÉ.ie / sport and the RTÉ News app.
Watch Roscommon v Galway and Tipperary v Clare live on RTÉ2 (as of 12:45 p.m. Sunday) and experience highlights of all the weekend action on The Sunday Game at 9:30 p.m. on RTÉ2.
Listen live and exclusively to national radio commentary on RTÉ Radio 1’s Saturday and Sunday sports broadcasts.