GAA punting pro Keith Merchant (@kmerchant3) shares his thoughts on this weekend’s action from across the Irish Sea.
Dublin v Galway | Saturday 11th August 2018, 17:00 | Sky Sports
Saturday evening sees Dublin and Galway clash with the winner getting a place in an All-Ireland football Final.
The Dublin juggernaut keeps on moving. They really are a serious outfit and won’t fear Galway – they are 26 games unbeaten and that doesn’t look like ending.
In Dublin they have so many quality players – I don’t know where to start. The likes of Cormac Costello and Paul Flynn are only subs but would walk into any other county team. Moreover, Dublin were able to rest multiple players last weekend and still won comfortably whereas Galway lost to Monaghan with a full strength team.
Galway were atrocious and few positives can be taken. The week before playing the best team in the country – they put in a criminal showing.
I can’t see how they can turn it around in seven days. There is this crazy idea that the place to catch Dublin is an All-Ireland semi-final but that’s rubbish. There is really never a good time to play Dublin, You either bring your best game or you’re as good as finished inside the first-15.
Galway are about to be the first team ever to play in an All-Ireland semi-final after losing their previous game. The three other sides come in on the back of a win. Galway will be under considerable pressure all over especially in at full back where Sean Andy O’Ceallaigh will be one of the players responsible for stopping Dublin attack – he looks a great bet to pick up a yellow card.
It’s simple for me here. I can’t see anything other than a Dublin win and all my bets will be trying to get value on this Dublin side. I’ll be hoping they go for goals as they usually do and also with the Cormac Costello bet – the key here is he doesn’t start as this will give us a serious chance when he comes on – hopefully around the 60th minute mark against a tiring Galway.
Back Dublin to score over 1.5 Goals at 5/4 and Sean Andy O’Ceallaigh (Galway) to be Yellow Carded Anytime at 7/4.
As a fun speculative punt I also like Cormac Costello to score the last point in the game at 10/1.
Monaghan v Tyrone | Sunday 12th August, 15:30 | Sky Sports
On Sunday afternoon we see the second semi-final of the All-Ireland as Monaghan take on Tyrone. Both are coming into this on the back of a win and will be brimming with confidence.
I’ll start with Monaghan here. They were hot favourites for the Ulster Title after beating Tyrone but came unstuck against a defensive outfit in Fermanagh.
They have a heavy over reliance on the brilliant Conor McManus but last Saturday they showed a different side when they had eight different scorers.
Whether they can do the same on Sunday is the key question. For me, Monaghan have always been hit and miss – excellent one day, poor the next.
I have no doubt they must bring their A-game Sunday because their will be no hiding places, the worry for Monaghan is their lack of bench compared to Tyrone – in the last four games Monaghan subs have scored ZERO, which must be a negative.
As for Tyrone since being knocked out of the Ulster championship, they have steadily improved and I’m in no doubt against a strong Monaghan outfit they will need to keep improving.
They had an excellent win last weekend against Donegal, when trailing at one point by four points in the second half but came back to win comfortably thanks to their strong bench which I expect to be the difference come Sunday.
Tyrone are one of the highest scorers in this year’s competition and hat approach should be enough to see off Monaghan.
I do fancy Tyrone and think they are a great bet to win, I don’t think Monaghan can beat Tyrone twice in the same year.
Back Tyrone – 1 on the handicap at 11/10
Dublin v Galway – Dublin to score Over 1.5 Goals (5/4 Ladbrokes)
Dublin v Galway – Sean Andy O’Ceallaigh to be Yellow Carded (7/4 Paddy Power)
Dublin v Galway – Cormac Costello to score the last point in the game (10/1 Paddy Power)
Monaghan v Tyrone – Tyrone -1 handicap (11/10 William Hill)