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Page last updated at 09:59 GMT, Friday, 8 August 2008 10:59 UK

Joe's jottings

Joe Kernan
Joe Kernan
Championship pundit

What a disappointing weekend for Ulster sides. Mickey Harte?s men succeeded were Fermanagh, Down and Monaghan said their farewell to this year?s chance of an All Ireland title.

Paul McGrane lifts aloft the Anglo-Celt Cup
Paul McGrane hopes to lift Armagh to a semi-final slot

Down were the most disappointing of all. They hve genuinely improved so much under Ross Carr, but they saved their most disappointing performance to last.

Down teams and supports have always believe that they were a better team when they reached Croke park, sadly this was not the case this time around.

Maybe the circus surrounding Down's run in the back door this year may have taken some people's eye off the ball. Wexford are no mugs and I hope Armagh don't fall into the same trap as Mournemen.

Meanwhile, the heartbreak of losing to Armagh in a replay drained a lot of the Fermanagh confidence. This was very evident in the first 20 minutes in their match against Kildare. In the stands you could feel that every shot off target had a dtetrimental effect on the team.

The second half was one way traffic. The final whistle ended 2008 season for Fermanagh fans, there was a lot of pluses for Fermanagh fans this year, but like a lot of other teams it's back to the drawing board.

However, Tyrone showed all their old quality to beat Mayo, and if they are injury free and get Owen Mulligan back, their chances will improve. As usual with Dublin a full house is expected and this is a mouth-watering game.

Monaghan remind me of Armagh in the 90?s, a team which went close on a few occasions. Monaghan fans must remember keep the faith. Seamus Mcenaney has done a great job in his four years, giving fans some of the best days of their lives, and most of all they have put pride and honour back into the Monaghan jersey.

But another weekend awaits all sports fans in Croke Park. Saturday has Armagh taking on Wexford and hopefully the Orchardmen wwill not underestimate them. If we keep improving, a semi-final place awaits.

Galway and Kerry will be tight one, but last week's game should see the defending champions improve that bit more ... Kerry by three or four points.

On Sunday, Cork hurlers and footballers play Kildare and Kilkenny. Cork footballers and Kilkenny hurlers to motor on.


Preliminary round

First round



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