Ulster & Leinster Football Championship previews

Lonesharkoy previews this weekend’s football action in the Leinster and Ulster Championships and has a goalscorer bet in Longford v Dublin and likes Antrim against Fermanagh.

Dublin vs Longford, Leinster SFC

Longford will get a sixteen point head start with the bookies here and that could be an interesting number. Remarkably, for all the talk of Dublin’s dominance in Leinster, they haven’t won a provincial championship game by more than that amount since 2009 when they crushed Westmeath in the Leinster semi-final.

Yet here’s the real kicker – five of their last nine Leinster championship games have been won by exactly sixteen points. Now we’re not about to harm the credibility of this fine site by suggesting that this sequence is down to anything more than coincidence, but if you’re the type of punter who likes to cover these eventualities, then Ladbrokes (14/1 the handicap draw) is where you need to go. Mathematically, a case could possibly even be made for that course of action.

However, instead, we’re going to go for a different double figure price – Shane Doyle at 10/1 to score the first Longford goal of the tie. Doyle isn’t a nailed on starter here by any stretch of the imagination but he does get forward very well and he’s a far more likely player to raise a green flag than many of his colleagues. Brian Kavanagh will show for the first ball in, which will more often than not be played in by Francis McGee – thus making it hard for either of those two to also get on the end of the move.

Doyle is one of a handful of players (along with Ross McNerney and to a lesser extent, Ronan McEntire) who will be looking to get close to Kavanagh to take a layoff and bear through on goal, so it’s easier to see him notching what will effectively be a consolation score than some of the more well-known names in this Longford side.

Advised Bet:

0.5 points win Shane Doyle to score the first Longford goal at 10/1 with Ladbrokes

Fermanagh vs Antrim, Ulster SFC

Price is everything in the betting game and this is one of those fixtures where all the logical indicators point us in one direction, yet the price forces us to take a completely different approach. If this piece was being written as a general preview for a newspaper rather than one focused on betting profit, the safe option would be to focus on Fermanagh’s stronger league form, their more settled dressing room under Pete McGrath and then move on. When you have one team that got promotion from division three and another that remained rooted in division four, the choice of which side is the more likely winner should be and is quite obvious.

Yet with that said, 4/1 looks very generous about the Saffrons here.

After all, it’s not as if they can’t play football. Michael Pollock and CJ McGourty will kick scores all day if they get any decent level of supply, there are plenty of powerful players around their middle sector, while their half back line could hold its own in division two company at least.

As is now customary in the country’s second most populous county, there was plenty of upheaval in the camp in the spring with a couple of walk offs. However they appear to have steadied the ship over the last few weeks and put in some decent efforts in challenge match ties, showing particularly well against Derry. Now factor in how Fermanagh are short their captain Eoin Donnolly, how some really miserable weather is forecast which may in turn reduce Fermanagh’s advantage in terms of pace, and the fact that this is the one draw Antrim could have got that would give them cause for optimism, and 4/1 starts to look like three or four ticks too big. 5/2 would be about right and at that point we’d be steering clear, but the big firms have baited the hook on this one, to the point that we can’t resist a nibble.

Advised Bet:

1 point win Antrim to beat Fermanagh at 4/1 with Ladbrokes, Paddy Power & Boylesports