GAA punting pro Keith Merchant (@kmerchant3) shares his thoughts on this weekend's action from across the Irish Sea.
Tyron v Roscommon | Saturday 14th July 2018, 17:00 | Sky Sports
With Tyrone knowing that Dublin are in their group, both Tyrone and Roscommon are aware the importance of a winning start in their opening match of the Super 8s. It's been a long road to get here for Tyrone who were knocked out of the Ulster Championship by Monaghan early. That meant they had to go down the qualifier route, beating Meath and Cavan before disposing a poor Cork team to make the draw for the Super 8s. They have built up some momentum and will want to get off to a good start here.
As for Roscommon, they couldn't repeat their Connacht final win against Galway from the previous year, which left them with a tough qualifier against a well organised Armagh side who have a terrific attitude and work rate. Roscommon looked in total control but have also been erratic at times, including when a late Armagh rally nearly derailed their
Both sides here will be desperate for a winning start knowing the consequences of a loss. I expect Tyrone to do enough here against a dangerous Roscommon team.
Roscommon and Tyrone meet for the only fourth time in championship football. Tyrone have never lost in the previous three games all of which came in the All Ireland qualifiers. Tyrone have played in 13 All-Ireland quarter finals, they have won six, lost six and draw one. Roscommon have played 5 quarter finals, losing four and drawing one.
Kildare v Monaghan | Sunday 15th July 2018, 14:00 | Sky Sports
Kildare and Monaghan both took the qualifier route to the Super 8s but both carry plenty of momentum going into this weekend's first round. Kildare didn't win a single game in the division one league and were knocked out of the Leinster Championship by Carlow. But a recent row with the powers that be seems to have given them a real injection. They've produced wins over Mayo and Fermanagh and will be brimming with confidence.
Monaghan however were expected win the Ulster championship and were even viewed as All Ireland contenders. But they just don't seem to deliver enough on the big day and especially at Croke Park, where they have a poor record. I really think the momentum here is with Kildare and I expect them to deliver.
Tyron v Roscommon – Tyrone to win by 1-3 points (3/1 Paddy Power)
Kildare v Monaghan – Kildare/Kildare double result (10/3 Ladbrokes)