Marc Ó Sé: Kerry to edge top-of-the-table clash with Mayo
Three-time All Star Marc Ó Sé casts his eye over the fifth round of matches in Division One of the National League this weekend and fancies Kerry to edge their top-of-the-table clash with Mayo.
Both teams have performed very well in this year’s National League. Armagh obviously have more points but they will probably be a bit disappointed not to have at least shared the points with Mayo two weeks ago.
Had Rian O’Neill gone short with that late free, maybe they could have won a free closer to the posts. Mayo took complete advantage of the inexperience of the Armagh side and worked it up the far side for a great winning score from Paddy Durcan.
Kildare will be delighted with their deserved win against the Dubs. However, Dublin should have converted at least one of those goalscoring opportunities.
Kildare need to focus on tightening up at the back and continue with the long ball into Daniel Flynn and Jimmy Hyland. If they can manage to get a good supply into them, we could see an upset. However, I still fancy Armagh for this at home.
It will be a packed house at Austin Stack Park, Tralee, for this top-of-the-table clash between two in-form teams.
Kerry had it easy against a disappointing Monaghan team two weeks ago when Rory Beggan coughed up three goals, two of which were gifts. The Kerry men were wondering whether Santa had made a second round trip!
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They won’t have it as easy this time as Mayo showed great bouncebackability to recover from that early goal by Armagh. Their defence is rock solid, with Matty Ruane flying in midfield.
I see this game going the distance. It could come down to a midfield battle between Ruan and Diarmuid O’Connor in my view. That said, I give Kerry the win with home advantage.
The big problem for Monaghan with this game is that if they lose they face a real relegation battle. With only two draws, they sit second from bottom with only Dublin below them on zero points.
That’s not too encouraging when you are facing a Donegal team who showed great improvement two weeks ago against the All Ireland Champions Tyrone. This in my view is going to give Donegal huge confidence against Monaghan.
I always find it really hard to call it when some of these Ulster teams play each other. If Donegal can build on the momentum from two weeks ago, I will give them the nod here. If Conor O’Donnell and Paddy McBrearty replicate their performance, it’s Donegal by two or three for me
This is a mouthwatering clash simply due to the pressure Dublin face to get a win. Add to the equation that they’re taking on the All Ireland champions at Healy Park and this is one of the games that all eyes will be on.
I said it all year, it all depends on which Dublin team takes the field. Will they bring Con O’Callaghan or James McCarthy back? I am hearing that Con is going to be absent, as are Eoin Murchan, Paddy Small and Cormac Costello. I also understand James McCarthy played a league game with his club Ballymun last weekend so he might be back, albeit a bit rusty.
However I feel it’s still a step too far for Dublin. Tyrone will have been disappointed not to have beaten Donegal and will be looking at the league table here. A home win against a vulnerable Dublin team is crucial and I think they will smell blood. It is a Tyrone win for me and that’s my bet of the week.