All Ireland Senior Football Quarter Final & qualifier picks

Lonesharkoy previews the All Ireland Quarter Final between Dublin and Fermanagh and also believes Donegal will bounce back and book a quarter final place against Mayo.

Dublin vs Fermanagh, All Ireland SF Quarter Final

Darragh Ó’Sé has suggested in today’s Irish Times that a handy victory is the last thing that Dublin need at this stage of the season, yet there is little or no reason to believe that they will get anything else out of this contest against Fermanagh.

The Erne County have regrouped well during the qualifiers and will come into this tie on the back of three wins in succession. However they are a well drilled group who move the ball well and rely on the trickery of Tomás Corrigan and the mercurial brilliance of Seán Quigley to create scores. Whatever about Quigley, Corrigan is unlikely to thrive in the face of Dublin’s outright physicality and the same could be said for many of his colleagues.

Fermanagh are quite happy to support the man in possession off the shoulder and keep very close running lines, but that’s not always the best way to take on a physically superior team. Against counties like Roscommon and Westmeath – both of whom were missing two of their best players – Fermanagh were able to power ahead in the closing stages, having struggled to dominate at the start. Does anyone really think that this could happen here?

However off a fourteen point handicap, it’s hard to back Dublin with conviction – so instead we’re going to look at a different angle – Bernard Brogan to score the first goal at odds of 4/1.

The Oliver Plunketts man doesn’t get spoken about in the same lofty terms as might have been the case a few seasons ago – from a position where he was considered to be arguably the best player in Ireland, now he’s probably one of the best five or six in Dublin. However he continues to finish very well, and this year the trademark Dublin goal has been the one that he scored against Westmeath – a diagonal or horizontal run towards one post, followed by a lateral handpass to the far post, for a corner forward to bat home. He got one of these against Kildare, Dean Rock got one against Tyrone to salvage a tough position in the league, it’s the Dubs’ go-to move – and more often than not, it’s Brogan who’s on the end of it.

Percentage wise, he and Connolly get far more than half of the team’s goals, yet they’re each 4/1 to score the first goal. When we consider that one bookie is offering a double payout if the goal happens in the first fifteen minutes, the appeal grows even stronger. Take Brogan, and cover on Connolly.


1.5 points win Bernard Brogan to score the first goal at 4/1 with Paddy Power

0.5 points win Diarmuid Connolly to score the first goal at 4/1 with Paddy Power

Donegal vs Galway, All Ireland SFC Qualifier

Firstly, we haven’t forgotten how this column (and this columnist!) got badly burned when Galway beat Derry against our advice a few weeks ago. However this writer remains deeply unconvinced of the merits of this Galway team, regardless of their journey through the backdoor. That said, what cannot be disputed that they appear to match up well with Ulster teams.

Under Kevin Walsh, Galway are the living embodiment of the phrase that “if you get a reputation for getting up early, you can stay in bed all day”. Perhaps based on their history or maybe their personnel, people have come to expect open, flowing, attacking football from the Tribesmen – when in fact, they employ a purely-percentage based approach that is as ugly to watch as any other team on the inter-county scene.

They score heavily from frees, they drop back in big numbers, they carry the ball up the field and only look for long deliveries on rare occasions – and we suspect that against Donegal, those occasions will be even rarer still.

All that said, the handicap of two points is incredibly low, given how highly rated this Donegal team are right now. One narrow defeat to a Monaghan side that knew them inside out hasn’t altered the simple fact that Donegal are one of a handful of teams that are genuinely capable of winning the All Ireland in 2015, while Galway are simply not at that level.

They have momentum on their side and Donegal may feel a little uncertain after their provincial final reverse, yet it’s a stretch to say the gap is as little as two scores. Back in May, Donegal beat the daylights out of Armagh while Galway were comfortably manhandled by Mayo. The Tribesmen have regrouped well since then and Donegal have struggled to rediscover that sense of flair and urgency, but the formlines have plenty of ground to cover before they converge from that starting point.

Backing Donegal to cover a handicap is not normally good advice, but at even money minus two, it’s hard to resist the temptation to do so.

Advised Bet: 

2 points win Donegal -2 points at 1/1 with Paddy Power