All Ireland Football Semi Finals Preview

Lonesharkoy previews the All Ireland Football semi finals and his bets include the 13/8 about Monaghan to beat Tyrone for the 3rd time this season.

Galway vs Dublin

For just the second time in seven championship starts this season, Dublin face into a game that they will probably win, as opposed to a game where only the winning margin was in doubt. Galway are a long way from the finished article, and logic would suggest that at best, they are where Donegal were in 2011, as opposed to 12 months later. They’ve found a style, they’ve learned to compete with the big teams and they’ve earned their place in the last four, coincidentally also on the back of a hard-fought win over Kerry – but going that extra mile won’t be easy.

However unlike Donegal, Kildare or Tyrone, all teams that could (or already have) give(n) Galway a very tough time of it, Dublin can’t yet say that they have Galway’s measure. They’re taking on a side that has a great history of coming from nowhere to suddenly put themselves in the mix for Sam Maguire, and the two league games have given Kevin Walsh’s side plenty of oxygen in advance of this week. For Dublin to drop a point in Salthill was forgivable, but they knew what to expect in the league final and they still couldn’t put Galway away. At the risk of repeating ourselves, we’d back Tyrone in a straight game against Galway, but there’s only one of the two counties that will go into a game against Dublin with the right mindset.

So we’re going to look for a bet that keeps Galway on side, a bet that won’t lose value if the forecast rain comes down at the wrong time, and a bet with some sort of an edge – and that edge is the fact that for all the criticism of Galway’s new harder edge, this side doesn’t concede too many scoreable frees.

Depending on who you listen to, this Galway team have either caught up with everyone else, or alternatively they’ve brought things to a whole new level when it comes to cynicism, riling up opponents, taking key opposition players out of the game and drawing opposition red cards. Yet they’ve done all this, but conceded very few points to frees along the way. 0-4 against Mayo was moderate, and the concession of a penalty against Roscommon distorted the stats there a little, but otherwise they really restricted chances against Sligo, Kerry and Kildare. For the purposes of this exercise, we’re disregarding the Monaghan game because if that form is even remotely relevant, Dublin will win at their ease.

On that basis, 4/6 about under 7.5 points for Dean Rock with Boylesports has to be the bet. Barry Cassidy of Derry is not the best refereeing appointment one could hope for here, someone like David Coldrick or Maurice Deegan would be ideal in terms of allowing some of the close calls go unwhistled, but Cassidy is not averse to allowing a physical game develop, though he will break out red cards if the need arises. Moreover, his dismissal of John Small in the Leinster final has proven that he’s not always cowed by the Dublin machine, which is not something that can be said of every referee on the circuit at the moment.

Even if Dublin score 18 or 19 points here, and it’s hard to see them getting more than that, Rock will do well to get five from placed balls. In the absence of goal, he’s highly unlikely to get to 8 – so 4/6 is a decent punt.

6/4 about a red card is no bad play either, and should probably be added to your book for the weekend.

Recommendations

Dean Rock to score under 7.5 points @ 4/6, Boylesports

A red card to be shown, 6/4, Boylesports

Tyrone vs Monaghan

There will be no shortage of pundits breaking this one down to the bare roots, with any amount of evidence in the form of past clashes between the counties, formlines through mutual opposition, and player matchups to work with.

Yet it’s as simple as this. Take away the Fermanagh game, and Monaghan have been consistently excellent this year. They have All Star candidates in every line of the field, they have a viable Player of the Year candidate in Conor McManus and a handful of top quality scorers to make hay in the space that opens up when he draws away half the opposition defence, while at midfield Niall Kearns has had an absolute breakout season and added something special to an already talented group.

Strip away their rather spectacular takedown of a hugely naïve Roscommon team, and Tyrone haven’t been on the same level. Their win over Donegal was forecast on here but while they did enough to advance, they didn’t for a moment look like a team that had found a new level. And when we consider quite how superior Monaghan were when they two teams met in the Ulster championship – Tyrone’s late goal masked that somewhat – it becomes harder and harder to understand why they are favourites this week.

It’s fair to say that Cathal McCarron is not a universally loved figure in the GAA but there can be no doubting his ability to shut down a good attacker, and the naming of Rory Brennan in the number four jersey this week won’t inspire a huge amount of confidence, that is a clear downgrade on an elite man marker. It’s also notable that when we look at the goals that Monaghan have conceded this year, and there aren’t many, several of them have come from simple, long balls into the goalmouth. Whether it was Kieran Donaghy’s knockdown for David Clifford, Eoin Donnelly’s punch in the Ulster semi-final or even that pinball goal from Tyrone, that’s where there is a slight chink of light; but that’s not how Tyrone play.

These are minor details however in the greater scheme of things – when it boils down to it, Monaghan are fractionally the better team, and 13/8 is a great price as a result.

Recommendation

Monaghan to win at 13/8 with Paddy Power and Betfair

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