Marc Ó Sé: Con fitness key to winner of Kerry-Dublin clash
Marc Ó Sé takes a look at this weekend’s semi-finals in the All-Ireland Football Championship.
Derry have really impressed me all season. They have already won the Ulster title, hammering All-Ireland Champions Tyrone in the quarter-finals and then beating both Monaghan and Donegal. In addition, they now have experience of playing a game at Croke Park, where they put five goals past Clare. This will make them very hard to beat. especially when you consider how well coached they are by Rory Gallagher.
Galway have gone up in my estimation on the basis of what I witnessed against Armagh. That game is going to stand them in good stead. To come through such a titanic battle after extra time and penalties will give them a huge confidence boost.
And just look at the match-winners they have. Sean Kelly looks a shoo-in for an All Star if he keeps going the way he has been and Paul Conroy has been the stand-out midfielder of the championship, although he will face stiff opposition from Conor Glass. That midfield battle will be very interesting when you consider how well Cillian McDaid is playing.
In 2001, an 11-year-old Chrissy McKaigue took his place in the Nally Stand to watch the Oak Leafers take on the Tribesmen for a place in the All-Ireland Football final.
This time he has a say in how Derry fare at Croke Park.
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— BBC SPORT NI (@BBCSPORTNI) July 8, 2022
Up front you have the double threat of both Shane Walsh and Damien Comer. I expect Chrissy McKaigue to pick up Wals, and Brendan Rogers to pick up Comer. However, I still wouldn’t rule out Rogers going into midfield and picking up either Conroy or McDaid. I have stuck with Derry all year as my number two ranked team and I am not budging on that view point. At the same time, I would love to see Galway be rewarded for their ability to play quality football. Armagh exposed the Galway defence by kicking high ball in the inside line and that really exposed their weakness.
It is Derry for me but this will be as tight as the Armagh v Galway clash. I am going with Derry to win by a low score, and fancy the handicap draw here at 17/2.
What a game we have in store here. If Kerry don’t finally beat the Dubs for the first time in the Championship since 2009, I actually think it will set us back 10 years. We have the players that have the potential to be match-winners, but I just haven’t seen them perform to the levels they can do this year.
The outcome of this clash will come down to the match-ups. Who will take Kilkenny? Tadgh Morley or Brian O’Beaglaoich? If it’s Morley, then Kilkenny could bring him on a tour of Croke Park. That could leave Kerry very vulnerable in the full-back line.
— Dublin GAA (@DubGAAOfficial) July 7, 2022
What about the fitness of both Con and Clifford, two of the best in the business? My heart would love to see Kerry beat a fully-fit Dublin team but I think Con’s fitness will be the key to winning or losing. Fenton, Kilkenny and Con have a wonderful chemistry and if Con is fit, I give the boys in blue the nod. If he isn’t I will slightly favour Kerry.
It’s very hard to bet on the winner until we see the sides line out on Sunday. One thing for sure is David Clifford is just unmarkable at the moment. If he gets a chance for goal he will take it and he looks massive value at 9/2 for first goal.
This promises to be an excellent match with both teams fully deserving to make the final. I have to say I was very impressed with Westmeath’s victory over Offaly, where they managed to kick 3-19 out of the total 3-22 from play.
Ronan O’Toole, John Heslin, and Lorcan Dolan, are real match-winners but that said Cavan have their fair share of talent too. Gearoid McKiernan and Paddy Lynch have both been in flying form all season and with Thomas Galligan having the versatility of playing around the middle of the park or drifting into the inside line, I feel Cavan will have enough for Westmeath and think they will cover the -2 handicap at 6/5.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication