GAA punting pro Keith Merchant (@kmerchant3) shares his thoughts on this weekend’s action from across the Irish Sea.
Roscommon v Donegal | Saturday 21st July 2018, 17:00 | Sky Sports
Firstly I’ll apologise for some recent advice, very little has gone right but I’m confident we can get the ball running properly this weekend.
Roscommon and Donegal kick off a double header of GAA on Sky Sports this Saturday evening with both coming into this on the back of a loss.
I’ll start with the home team, Roscommon, who got annihilated by Tyrone last weekend. Unlike other teams they can draw very little hope from home comforts. For all the fuss made over the value of home fixtures in the Super-8s, their recent record at home would suggest little advantage with results of only 4 wins and 4 losses in their last nine games, so I wouldn’t be counting it as a positive.
They have nothing to play for barring miracles. The best part of Roscommon’s play has been their goal threat – they’ve scored four goals in their last two games.
As for Donegal, they gave Dublin a real good game last weekend losing to the reigning champions by only 5 points. They will consider this an easier opportunity to get points on the board and give them hope of making the semi-finals. Donegal are the reigning Ulster champions and won’t fear coming down to Roscommon to get the result required.
They’ve also been hitting the net consistently with seven goals in their last 5 games so the over goals here is my bet. They have a few classy players but my favourite is Ryan McHugh who is an exceptional player and loves going forward from his defensive duties and is always capable of scoring a goal, I expect him to be involved in everything good about Donegal on Saturday evening.
Tyrone v Dublin | Saturday 21st July, 19:00 | Sky Sports
I’ll start with Tyrone – they put on quite a performance at Croke Park last Saturday night with 13 different scorers on the day, Roscommon had no answer to the relentless Tyrone pressure. Tyrone had pace, power and were accurate in front of the posts. Since being knocked out of the Ulster championship, they have steadily improved and I’m in no doubt will need to again Saturday evening against the winning machine that is Dublin.
Last year many including myself thought Tyrone could overturn Dublin which proved wrong but with slightly different tactics and a more positive approach, Tyrone can make a winning statement here – otherwise it’ll be another year where they fall short. There the highest scorers in this year’s competition and if they keep that approach, especially when having home advantage, I fully believe they will overturn Dublin.
As for Dublin, they’re a relentless machine that keeps on moving. They really are a serious outfit and won’t fear playing Tyrone or anybody else, but I firmly believe if any team will derail them its Tyrone.
Dublin seem to have lost a little spark this year. They’re also missing two key players from last year in Diarmuid Connolly and Bernard Brogan. Dublin’s opposition has been poor and they haven’t been tested at all. Last weekend Donegal gave them a game before becoming wasteful at critical times, allowing Dublin to take advantage of it before winning comfortably enough.
I just get the feeling that if their to be beaten it will be Saturday as Tyrone must lay down a marker. I’m all over Tyrone winning this and I’m going to cover my stakes on the handicap at 6/5 with Paddy Power.
Roscommon v Donegal – Over 2.5 goals (1/1 Paddy Power)
Roscommon v Donegal– Ryan McHugh to score and Donegal to win (4/1 Paddy Power)
Tyrone v Dublin – Tyrone to win (100/30 Ladbrokes)
Tyrone v Dublin – Tyrone +4 (1/1 Bet365)