Lonesharkoy previews the All Ireland Football Final between Mayo and Dublin and he has bets on Total points, player points and man of the match.
Twelve months ago, there was little or nothing between Dublin and Mayo over the course of two games at this stage of the season, and while a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, results across this summer’s championship would suggest that these remain the best two teams in the country. The question we have to answer here on BetSWOT is: how has each side changed in the intervening twelve months?
In the case of Dublin, we can say that they have more depth than ever before, though it’s not immediately apparent how useful that will be. There are only so many players that can feature in a given match, and while it’s clear that Paul Mannion has stepped up his game, and that Niall Scully and Con O’Callaghan are now very dangerous weapons at this level too, all that has effectively happened is that Jim Gavin has arrived at the point where he can afford to leave Bernard Brogan in his tracksuit top for the full duration of an All-Ireland semi-final, and to bring Diarmuid Connolly into action in second half injury time.
There is no way that Sunday’s fixture will pass by without at least one of these two making a real impact, but are they now a significant upgrade on what’s there already? Brogan may or may not be, and while Connolly has gifts that are unique in the modern game, they come with risk attached, in that there is always the chance of a red card. The safer option for Gavin is to go with the players who can be depended on to fulfil a certain role and to do it well.
As a collective unit, Dublin’s biggest transformation this year has been their ability to patiently pick off a defensive opponent. They have had issues with blanket defences in the past, but their quarter-final and semi-final victories demonstrated that those have been put behind them. If anything, Kildare showed enough against them to illustrate that going toe to toe in a shootout could be a far more profitable approach.
For Mayo, this summer has been one long learning experience, and the largest benefit accrued will be psychological. Their two games against Roscommon will have reinforced their conviction that they are best suited to a high-tempo, attacking style of play, while they’ve also handled more than their fair share of obstacles and come out smiling. When much of the discourse in your county treats the quest for the Sam Maguire Cup as a matter of destiny, that’s not insignificant. Tyrone were done for as soon as O’Callaghan rattled their net after five minutes – their game plan wasn’t suited to chasing the game. Mayo will be far better able to handle that type of setback, should it happen this Sunday.
Jason Doherty and Tom Parsons have moved up to a higher level of performance, albeit that is some way tempered by the fact that Diarmuid O’Connor is not quite at his 2016 pitch, while let’s not forget that they will effectively have a new player on board this week as Aidan O’Shea will be able to come back out the field and play a meaningful role in the middle third, as opposed to spending his game shadowing a tall forward.
All of these indicators point to one thing – these teams will attack each other, and they will post scores while doing so – and consequently, our bets for the week are all on that basis. First and foremost, over 36.5 points is on offer at 5/6 with Paddy Power and Betfair and that looks a decent wager.
Our second wager will be or Jason Doherty to score over 1.5 points at 8/1 1 with Paddy Power. The Burrishoole man tends to drop off into an intermediate range position in a bid to leave Andy Moran plough a lone furrow inside, but to collect a lot of second ball, and he has become a far more trusted shooter now. Expect Andy Moran and Michael Fitzsimons to spend the afternoon having their own private battle, but Doherty will get far more scope in his role, presumably up against Philly McMahon, who tends to pick up the deeper-lying corner forward. McMahon will gamble on a run or two up the field, and while that will keep Doherty occupied, it’ll also leave openings for Doherty to pick off scores.
Finally, for those looking for something in the bigger price range, the time seems ripe for Jack McCaffrey to come to the fore and break through the Mayo defence with a series of devastating runs. It has taken some time for the former Player of the Year to get back to top form but he is all but unstoppable now, given the most likely candidates to stand opposite him for the throw in this Sunday afternoon.
McCaffrey is 11/1 to be Man of the Match with Paddy Power and the price of 10/3 to be nominated looks very reasonable. be interesting.