Marc Ó Sé: Derry’s clash with Monaghan looks a close encounter
Marc Ó Sé casts his eye over four matches in the All-Ireland Senior Championship this weekend.
What a game these two teams gave us two years ago, with Tipperary managing to go all the way to an All-Ireland semi-final after their victory. Both Limerick and Tipp possess some excellent forwards who on their day are a match for any defence. Both teams have won promotion, with Tipp going to Division 3 and Limerick going to Division 2.
If Tipp lose this game it’s the Tailteann Cup for them. I think that will be the motivation they need and with home advantage they should win but it could be closer than people think. I fancy Tipperary with a win margin of 1-3 which is 2/1.
Kildare were very impressive against Louth. They raced into a 10 – 0-1 lead and with forwards like Hyland, Woodgate and Flynn, Kildare hold all the aces here. Westmeath are making great strides under Jack Cooney but Kildare look good overall and -6 points in the handicap looks a good prospect at evens.
Dublin legend Cian O’Sullivan suggested this week that the Dublin/Meath rivalry is not what it used to be. He isn’t wrong either. Since Meath last beat Dublin in this fixture their average losing margin is 13 points a game.
With a fit-again Con O’Callaghan, who kicked 1-5 v Wexford, and an in-form Brian Fenton, maybe that 13-point margin won’t be too far off the bounds of possibility. Time will tell where the Dubs are at and after clicking with the handicap draw last weekend in the Kerry v Cork match, I am going to back the handicap draw of -8 points at 11/1.
But for a wrong call by the referee in the Roscommon match, Derry should be in Division 1. The important thing for them now is that they are playing like a team in Division 1 and having already beaten All-Ireland champions Tyrone with players of the calibre of Brendan Rogers, Chrissy McKaigiue, Conor Glass, Gareth Mckinnless and the Dohertys, they have real class.
Rory Gallagher has done quite a job with them. However, Monaghan are a team with a genuine cause. They have had only one All-Ireland semi-final appearance in eight years so expect them to match Derry for attitude and they may also just have the better balance between defence and attack. This game could go either way, the outright draw at 15/2 could give you a good run for your money.