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Marc Ó Sé: Armagh’s clash with Galway could go down to wire

| 26.06.2022

Marc Ó Sé takes a look at this weekend’s quarter-finals in the All-Ireland Football Championship.

Derry v Clare (Sat, 3:45 Croke Park)

This is sure to be a great game that will bring huge crowds from both counties. Derry have been in outstanding form all season, beating All-Ireland champions Tyrone by a cricket score, then beating the hugely fancied Monaghan and Donegal. Going back further, I would say Derry have been on an upward curve for the past three years. They will really fancy their chances now of getting to an All-Ireland semi-final against Galway or Armagh.

Clare have had a very impressive season. Their game against Limerick in Munster went down to the wire, losing on penalties but since then they have reacted very well. A two-point win against Meath was followed by a one-point victory against well-fancied Roscommon.

It has been a very positive month for Clare. With quality players like Jamie Malone, Keelan Sexton, Eoin Cleary and Podge Collins, they will be a tough team to break down. Whilst it is hard to watch Derry’s style of play at times, it’s still very effective and they are getting very used to the system now.

I expect Clare to have bodies behind the ball also but they won’t have Derry’s experience of playing this system. My bet is Clare +6 points at even money.

Dublin v Cork (Sat, 18.00, Croke Park)

This match is only going to go one way and that will be a win for Dublin, so the only question is what will be the margin of victory. I am basing that on one thing – form. Dublin and Cork are hugely contrasting greatly in that area at the moment. You could argue that Cork gave Kerry a game for 50 minutes but ultimately they still lost by 12 points at Pairc Uí Rinn.

Cork have since beaten Louth and Limerick to reach the last eight but this is where it should end for them. The big thing for Cork is to produce a performance that they can build on for next year and not get a trouncing from the Dubs who crushed Meath and Kildare.

I thought Kildare would give Dublin a good game but the Dubs were outstanding and played with the swagger of old. With Kilkenny, Fenton and King Con in great form the question is – what will the winning margin be? I fancy Dublin at -12 points at 10/11.

Armagh v Galway (Sun, 13.45 Croke Park)

What a game we have in store here and this is going to be the hardest game of the weekend to call, with both teams possessing match winners.

Armagh have all the momentum thamls to big wins over the last few weeks and even though Galway will be delighted with their progress in beating Mayo and Roscommon, the lay-off may go against them. Armagh would have fancied themselves big time for Ulster but the way they bounced back in the qualifiers has been very impressive. Their throw-in tactic of winning and going long into the inside line has been very effective and I am sure Galway will take note of this.

Also, Armagh have struggled to break down defensive teams at times so it will be interesting to see how Galway set themselves up.

The match-ups in this game will be fascinating. Who will pick up Shane Walsh and Rian O’Neill? For me those two players along with Paul Conroy are the danger players who can win a game for you. I expect this game to go down to the wire and I found this one a particularly hard game to call, but I am going to slightly favour Armagh here, although I would not rule out Draw HT/Draw FT at 33/1.

Kerry v Mayo (Sun, 16.00, Croke Park)

The big talk here in Kerry is the fitness of David Clifford. Will he or won’t he be ready? Kerry disposed of Limerick with ease in the Munster final, beating them by 23 points, having dispatched Cork by 12 points in the semi-final. Cast your mind back to when these teams last met in the National League final and Kerry hammered Mayo with a score of 3-19 to 13 points.

In Kerry’s last three games they have a combined winning margin of 50 points, an average of 16 points per game. The problem for Kerry is that they have yet to be tested and when they last played Mayo, their opponents were struggling with  injuries.

If Ryan O’Donoghue is available for Mayo he will be a massive addition. They badly need him because it’s the defenders attacking up the field who have been keeping Mayo in matches. But for Oisin Mullin’s goal against Kildare, it was lights out for Mayo. I think this will be Kerry’s biggest test to date this year and they won’t have the freedom of Croke Park like they had in the League final. That said, I still think they will win with a few points to spare. Kerry -4 points at 10/11.

The treble of Clare +6, Dublin -12 and Kerry -4 looks a good bet at just over 6/1.

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All odds and markets correct as of date of publication

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Author

Warren Barner