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A Guide To Surviving This Incredible Weekend In Sport

A Guide To Surviving This Incredible Weekend In Sport
By Gavan Casey Updated

Batten down the hatches, buckle those belts, and for the love of God, boil the kettle. Here's our guide to surviving what is set to be a salivating weekend-and-a-bit of sport.

Friday, 20:00 - 00:00: The Masters, Round Two

If you find yourself suffering from Masters Fever during the day, check out the Official Masters films from previous years on Sky Sports 4. After that, more of the same, please.

In addition to the three Irish contestants, this year's first major also welcomes back a certain Eldrick Woods, so expect the perennial 'get in the hole' brigade to be back in full voice. Meanwhile, Bubba Watson will attempt to win his third green jacket in four years. Naturally, Masters Friday will set the cut. It should make for some compelling viewing as things heat up in Augusta.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aekyy_uBpMs
00:00 - 11:00: Sleep

With an early start and late finish on Saturday, it's crucial to catch some zeds on Friday night.

Saturday, 11:00: Breakfast

Up and at 'em. Eat well. It's about to properly kick off.

12:00 - 15:00: Swansea vs Everton

After two rounds of mesmerising golf on Thursday and Friday, Saturday is where things should really explode out of the traps. And we're not talking about the curry. Roberto Martinez' men travel to his old haunt looking to continue their recent resurgence. It makes for a nice filler before the racing that follows in Everton's homeland.

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15:00 - 16:15: Nutrition and Bets/Masters Third Round

Take on some much-needed fluids, order in a takeaway and place your last minute bets. It's time for the most famous steeplechase in the world. If you're sharp enough, you might even catch tee-off in Augusta. The Masters third round and the Grand National present the first real two-screen dilemma of the weekend. They don't call it a laptop for nothing; put it to good use.

16:15 - 16:45: The Grand National/Masters Third Round

The big race begins at 16:15 on RTÉ One.

In a day where fists will either pump or collide with the nearest wall, what makes this year's race particularly enthralling is the soon-retiring AP McCoy taking part in his final -and record-breaking - 20th Grand National.

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Some bookies have predicted that McCoy’s 2015 mount, Shutthefrontdoor, will be the shortest-priced favourite since Red Rum in 1975. And while we like the idea of the champion jockey riding off into the Liverpool sunset, such is the nature of the event, we won’t be hedging our bets. The Grand National’s first ever winner in 1839? A horse named Lottery.

Giddy up.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4aYO1YBpq0
16:45 - 20:00: Burnley vs Arsenal/Masters Third Round

The Gunners, smoking from their 4-1 annihilation of Liverpool last weekend, travel to Turf Moor in search of three points against a resilient Burnley. Wenger's men top the oft-reviled 'calendar year table,' but will look to keep their faint title hopes alive in the north-west.

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20:00 - 00:00: Masters Third Round

Fold up the laptop, stick on either BBC or Setanta Ireland, and fool yourself into thinking you're basking in the Augusta sunshine as - cut permitting - McIlroy and co battle their way towards the business end of the 79th Masters tournament.

00:00 - 00:00:13: Draw a breath

Literally.

00:00:13 - 01:30: The Andy Lee Conundrum

Stay up, or go to bed and set an alarm?

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Option 1: Stay up. But will you make it? It may well depend on whether you have Match of the Day recorded or will instead be forced to deal with the much maligned Manish for an hour and a half. It has been described as the greatest test of character in sporting spectatorship (staying up for a fight Stateside, not watching The Football League Show). Should it go wrong, you're faced with the indignation of waking up on your own couch on a Sunday morning, covered in soup. Just us?

Option 2: Hit the sack and set numerous alarms at five minute intervals from 01:30 to 03:00, depending on your investment in what will be an entertaining undercard in New York.

01:30 - 06:00: Andy Lee vs Peter Quillin

Late Saturday night or early Sunday morning (depending on which of the above options you decide to explore), Limerick's Andy Lee makes the first defence of his WBO World middleweight championship against undefeated former champ, Peter Quillin, in Brooklyn's Barclays Centre.

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If the 34-2 (24 KOs) Lee can successfully defend his crown - a big 'if' against the heavily favoured Brooklyn native - a second defence will likely take place versus Billy Joe Saunders in Thomond Park this summer.

Lee's right hand has attained near cult status in his previous two KO victories, but 'Kid Chocolate' Quillin, whose record stands at 31-0 (22 KOs), can bang with the best of them.

Both could land on your chin from across the street. Neither man moves his head particularly well. And with two former Amir Khan conquerors in Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson facing off in the headline bout, it should be bombs away in Brooklyn. Coverage starts on BoxNation at 01:30, with Andy Lee expected in the ring around 4am.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBd9NfSxiC4

06:00-12:30: Sleep

Let's be honest, if you've made it this far, you deserve it. Don't overdo it, though. The best is yet to come.

12:30-13:30: A Breakfast/Dinner Hybrid

"I just don't see what's wrong with having a nice glass of wine with a pancake!"

Sunday's 'brinner' should be a high-fibre, carb-rich affair. How else do you propose to ensure you're prepared for the channel-hopping bedlam that is to follow? Think of your thumbs!

13:30 - 00:00: Allianz Football League Semi-Finals/Manchester Derby/Masters Final Round

We kick off Sunday with a double-header in Croke Park, as Cork take on Donegal (throw in 2pm) and Dublin look to deal with Monaghan in a similarly entertaining fashion as they did last weekend (4pm).

The Rebels will be seeking revenge for their narrow defeat in Ballyshannon last month, while Donegal will be looking for a quick return to Croke Park as they begin the reparation process from last September's disappointment.

Either a Cork vs Dublin final, or a repeat of last year's All-Ireland semi final between Dublin and the men from The Hills seems likely, but the Dubs will be wary of a Monaghan backlash following last week's 11 point victory.

Coverage begins on TG4 at 1:30pm.

 

As the Dubs and Monaghan take to the field in Croker, Red-hot Manchester United will look to heap further blues on their City rivals as Manuel Pellegrini's side travel to Old Trafford.

Fast becoming one of the biggest games in world football, the Champions League connotations for both clubs means this will be one of the most heated all-Manchester clashes since Oasis' split in 2009.

With neither side set to field a local player for the first time in derby history, the battle for local pride will likely take place in the stands. There won't be a prawn sandwich on display. Thank God you've already had brinner.

 

While madness ensues in both Croke Park and the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday evening, you will be faced by an unprecedented, three-screen quandary, as the final round of the Masters tees off in Augusta.

The laptop will be back out. There has even been talk of strategically aligning a sequence of mirrors between Balls HQ and our neighbours, creating a periscope-like effect so we can keep an eye on Croker, Old Trafford and Augusta simultaneously. But you didn't get that idea from us.

It'll be survival of the fittest for all involved this weekend.

Enjoy!

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