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Marc Ó Sé: Donegal are coming good at the right time

| 25.05.2022

Marc Ó Sé casts his eye over four matches in the All-Ireland Senior Championship this weekend.

Kerry v Limerick (Sat, 15.00)

Billy Lee knows Kerry football inside out and he was involved with Austin Stacks club a few years ago. Limerick have done remarkably well this year and have earned the right to be in the Munster Final. They contain some very talented players such as their goalie Donal O’Sullivan who could play in any Inter County team.

Full-back Brian Fanning is another excellent player, Ian Corbett is a former All Star nominee, while Cillian Fahy scored three points against Tipperary. A mention also must go to Josh Ryan who is another quality player and he is sure to have a great battle with Jason Foley.

However, Kerry’s talent up front will be too much for Limerick. I expect to see Limerick play with a defensive style similar to what Cork had done a few weeks ago and a style that frustrated Kerry at times.

The venue is Fitzgerald Stadium, a place where Kerry haven’t lost in the Championship since 1995. I can see Jack O’Connor’s side winning by double scores. Whether or not they cover the 16-point handicap is hard to know, especially as they could end up resting some players and emptying the bench if the scoreline is lopsided at half-time. I am going to take Limerick +16 points at 10/11.

Dublin v Kildare (Sat, 17.00)

Dublin are coming good just at the right time. Both Dublin and Kildare were relegated from Division 1 this year but that’s not going to worry the Boys in Blue too much in my opinion.

With Con O’Callaghan back fit again, they now have a focal point in the full forward line. The Kildare full-back line will be very busy trying to curb his influence on Saturday and with Brian Fenton finding his mojo again, Dublin are in a good place.

For the first time in years though I don’t expect them to steamroll their way to victory as they have done in previous years. Having already beaten Dublin this year in the league, and with forwards like McCormack, Flynn and Hyland, Kildare will pose a real threat to the Dublin defence.

I still expect Dublin to win this game and could well cover the six-point handicap margin. However, there is value at 9/4 for the first scoring play to be a Kildare point from play.

Roscommon v Galway (Sun, 13.45)

Roscommon beat Galway in the 2019 Connacht Final and they have lost the last three of them so they will really want to end that bad record on Sunday. Roscommon also edged out Galway in the Division 2 Final in Croke Park earlier this year so expect there to be a real bite to this final.

The match-ups in this game will be very interesting. Who will pick up the in-form Paul Conroy? For me he has been the most outstanding midfielder in the country this year so far and I include Brian Fenton in that.

If Conroy can keep playing the way he is playing and have Shane Walsh and Damien Comer going well I just expect Galway to shade this so I’m backing the handicap draw at 9/1. Galway could well win by just the two points.

Derry v Donegal (Sun, 16.00)

The last time Derry appeared in an Ulster Final was 11 years ago and it was against Donegal who overcame them that day.

Derry have been, for me, the story of the Championship and Rory Gallagher deserves huge credit for what he has achieved with these men. To overcome the All-Ireland champions Tyrone so comprehensively already and then topple Ulster finalists Monaghan, it has been some year for them.

Donegal have come through the easier section of the draw but I still think they are coming good at the right time. I think they have the outfield players in Michael Langan, Michael Murphy and Ciaran Thompson. They can win primary possession and also kick points from distance that can counteract that blanket defence that Derry have been using to huge effect.

Donegal to just shade it for me and Donegal half-time/full-time at 13/8 is my bet in a close encounter.

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All odds and markets correct as of date of publication

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Author

Andrew McDermott