Lonesharkoy looks ahead to the weekend Gaelic Football action and he thinks Tipp will trounce Waterford and likes Monaghan against Tyrone.
Tyrone vs Monaghan
Rumours of a possible injury to Conor McManus were scotched when the Clontibret man was named in the team for what this writer considers to be by far the most interesting tie of the weekend, even if a comment of that nature is likely to bring a fatwah down on my head form some of the hurling community that frequent BetSWOT.
Now that we know that the visiting side will be at full strength, it’s not immediately apparent why Tyrone are so heavily fancied for this one. The game will be played at Healy Park but the Omagh venue is not a fortress, in the sense that while not many teams win there, that’s because not many teams beat Tyrone – the Red Hand county tend to be at least as effective on the road. Mickey Harte has named a team with plenty of scoring power, but there are still huge question marks over whether or not he’s going to give players like Niall Sludden and Conor Meyler the freedom to take a few risks and to commit to the attack, as opposed to just leaving the inside men isolated.
Picking three proper scoring inside forwards is a positive step, but it’s not immediately apparent what type of team Tyrone want to be.
What we can say is that even if they do commit to the attack, they won’t score goals on Monaghan very easily. The Farney county played seven league games and kept six clean sheets, which is a significant improvement on last year. They weren’t especially prolific up front, but with McManus, Conor McCarthy, Kieran Hughes and Jack McCarron, they have the potential to find the net at some stage. Our gut feeling is that the betting should be a bit tighter than it is, but for proper value, Monaghan to be the only team to raise a green flag looks like a decent call for a slightly smaller stake.
Monaghan to be the only team to score a goal, 16/5, Paddy Power Betfair
Tipperary vs Waterford
Tipperary’s footballers have to cover an eleven-point spread against Waterford, and it’s entirely possible that they will do this with little or no fuss. Across the four divisions of the National Football League, only Dublin outscored Tipperary in seven group games this spring. The Premier County have some wonderful attacking talent, and had they been able to hold on for the win against Roscommon – when they led by six points with five minutes to play – they would have secured promotion to division one.
Liam Kearns has named a strong team for this game and while Waterford are eminently capable of raising their game for one performance per summer, as Cork saw last year, it would represent a rather dramatic upturn in their fortunes if they were able to compete with a very impressive Tipp side here.
Rhode’s Paschal Kelleghan has been very well-received as part of the coaching ticket in Tipperary under Liam Kearns and there’s no doubt he’ll appreciate the chance to further remind people in Offaly of his ability to improve players’ skill sets in this tie, given the turmoil that has prevailed at home. Kelleghan was somewhat controversially overlooked for the Offaly management gig at the start of the year and if he has developed any sort of rapport with the players, expect them to try and deliver a strong performance for his sake, which would result in a comfortable win for Tipp in this one.
Tipperary (-11pts) at even money, Paddy Power Betfair.