Lonesharkoy looks ahead to the weekend football and he has bets on Carlow and Laois.
A break-even week last weekend, though it could have been so much better. But for Tipperary emptying the bench against Waterford, or Tyrone’s late goal against Monaghan, we were in clover. Still, a score draw leaves us well able to go again this week, where we’ll kick off with a live outsider in the Leinster football championship.
Kildare vs Carlow
Carlow, who couldn’t be higher on confidence in advance of their clash with Kildare in Tullamore tomorrow. It wasn’t until the latter stages of their clash with Louth that Turlough O’Brien’s troops finally put that game to bed, but they were by far the better team for long stretches and looked like a really capable side in that tie. The absence of Brendan Murphy is a factor but to O’Brien’s credit, he has handled it brilliantly. Rather than talking it up to salvage his own reputation, he has completely put his trust in the players that remain, and they’ve responded ideally, stepping up the mark and playing as if they believe every word that’s been said about them.
Kildare are a better team but they don’t have a championship game behind them, and while they’re likely to have a bit more strength in depth and wrap up the win late on, even money plus seven points is a decent bet for Carlow here. There’s just no substitute for a good team dynamic, with confidence in their ability and trust in their gameplan. Kildare are undoubtedly the better footballers, and we expect them to improve as this championship progresses – however this is a tricky opening assignment and even allowing for the fact that this should be a comparatively high scoring tie, it’s very hard to see Kildare covering a seven point spread here, at least without a good few goals. You don’t just bounce back from losing as many games as they have in spectacular fashion, and that’s what it would take to beat this Carlow team by a large margin.
Carlow plus seven points, 11/10, Unibet or 888sport
Laois vs Westmeath
All logic would suggest that this should be a relatively tight encounter, but bit-by-bit, the cracks are appearing in Westmeath this year. Everything went swimmingly for Colin Kelly in the early stages of his reign as they reached the O’Byrne Cup final and got out to a decent start in the league, but the wheels started to come off towards the end of the campaign, culminating in a missed opportunity to relegate Offaly on the final day. In theory Westmeath weren’t trying too hard on that occasion, with John Heslin playing no part – but that’s where they are now, with the big St. Loman’s player absent from this fixture.
Add in to that the loss of James Dolan, a genuine game-breaker of a wing back with a penchant for vital goals, while also factoring in the continued absence of Paul Sharry and Kevin Maguire, and suddenly you’re taking four genuinely elite, division one standard players out of a division three standard team.
They still have some star quality in the shape of Kieran Martin and Ger Egan, while Luke Loughlin has been a breath of fresh air this year and is capable of scoring well – even though his participation in a recent club game against team orders is rumoured to have caused problems in the camp – so up front, they’re a capable group. John Connellan is an accurate, lively corner forward and Callum McCormack is another man well able to score.
However from jerseys one to nine, it’s a mix of unproven faces, remodelled attackers and guys that have spent some time in or around the senior panel and never quite managed to make an impression. Mark McCallon is playing well, Jamie Gonoud is a quality defender and Sam Duncan has plenty of potential – so the full back line might be okay. Midfield and half back however is woefully underpowered.
Of all the new Kerry managers on the scene this year, John Sugrue’s appointment in Laois got far less media coverage than that of Stephen Wallace in Offaly or John Evans in Wicklow. Yet Sugrue has done a nice job with a middling enough panel, and with some momentum now on their side, they’re looking like a decent bet for this evening’s clash at O’Connor Park.
There’s still traces of even money around with some UK firms so take this if you can, but since we don’t want to advise a price that’s not generally accessible, we’ll officially put them up at 4/5.
Laois at 4/5 with BetVictor and Boylesports