Lonesharkoy previews the All Ireland Football Qualifier clash between Roscommon and Clare and he is siding with Clare to pull off another shock.
Much has been made of the 6 day jinx in the All Ireland football qualifiers down the years. Just two teams have managed to beat the hoodoo and win a qualifier six days after losing in Leinster. Like a lot of things, quite often the bare statistic doesn’t tell the full story.
One recalls John O’Mahony lauding Mayo’s one point victory in Salthill in 2009, saying that it was the first victory for Mayo at the venue for 42 years. This was glossing over the fact that many of the clashes between the two counties that were due to be played on Galway soil took place in Tuam in the interim – and when we strip away games that were a mismatch to begin with, we’re not dealing with a massive sample size.
However in this instance, it appears that there is a considerable amount of substance to the issue – and in the case of Roscommon against Clare tomorrow afternoon at the same seaside venue, it may be a shackle that they’re unable to break.
Any county player will tell you that the loss of a championship game is a huge blow that isn’t easily overcome, mentally or physically. That’s doubly the case when the game in question is a provincial final. Now add into the mix the fact that the defeat was utterly comprehensive, that sweeping changes to the starting fifteen will be required, that your key inside forward finished the game holding his hamstring for ten minutes, because all the substitutions were used up, and the case for a Clare win grows stronger and stronger.
In terms of raw ability, Roscommon are a better team than Clare – but not so much that an upset would be implausible under normal circumstances, never mind those that prevail now. Moreover, the crisis of confidence that the Rossies are experiencing at midfield plays into the hands of a Clare team that is particularly strong in that sector, led by the outstanding Gary Brennan. This should be a 50/50 encounter at best, which is why Clare footballers at 15/8 with Betway leaps off the page as the best bet of the weekend.
Clare to beat Roscommon at 15/8 with Betway