GAA – Four plays from this weekend’s action


GAA punting pro Keith Merchant (@kmerchant3) shares his thoughts on this weekend's action from across the Irish Sea.

Cavan v Tyrone | Saturday 30th June 2018, 17:00 |  Sky Sports

Looking at this game, I'll start with Cavan they come into the game on the back of three games.

They lost out to Donegal in the Ulster championship by eight points, but since then they have won two qualifier games, they firstly beat Wicklow easily by 2-16 to 1-05 and they followed that up with a decent win over Down by 1-14 to 0- 15. Cavan will look to players like Seanie Johnston and Martin O’Reilly.

Tyrone similarly to Cavan come into this game on the back of three wins. They lost out in the Ulster championship to Monaghan by 1-18 to 1-16 in a close contest however since then they have won two games in a row, they defeated Meath by 2-14 to 0-19 after extra time and then brushed Carlow aside by 13 points.

Tyrone will look to players such as Mattie Donnelly, Peter Harte and Colm Cavanagh for leadership in a game that will be tough but which I expect to Tyrone to come through.



Tyrone 5-18 Cavan 2-17 (Ulster semi-final)

Replay 2016: Cavan 0-16 Tyrone 3-7 (Ulster semi-final)

Draw 2005: Tyrone 3-19 Cavan 0-7 (Ulster semi-final)

Replay 2005: Tyrone 0-10 Cavan 1-7 (Ulster semi-final)

Draw 2001: Tyrone 1-13 Cavan 1-11 (Ulster final)

The betting

The markets I would select in this game would be Tyrone -5 at evens (paddy power).

Mattie Donnelly to be sky man of the match at 12/1 as he will be in involved in everything good Tyrone do and us just too tempting to turn down for a small stakes fun bet.

Kildare v Mayo | Saturday 30th June 2018, 19:00 |  Sky Sports

This fixture will be of much interest given the problems which arose earlier in the week with the GAA sending Kildare supporters into shock and disbelief when they decided to fix the game for Croke Park. However, it has since been changed and will be played in Kildare at 7pm on Saturday evening.

Kildare have only played two games in the championship to date, they were beaten by Carlow and that was very disappointing. They played Derry in their first game in the qualifiers and they played much better winning by eight points. Cian O’Neill will look to players like Daniel Flynn and Kevin Feely. If their players perform in this game Kildare won’t be far away.

Mayo have played a game more than Kildare. They have played 2 games in the qualifiers since losing to Galway in the Connacht championship and since have gone on to beat Limerick and Tipperary.

Another step up will be required especially with the home advantage now back in Kildare’s favour they will be a different side and will be fired up. Mayo will look to Cillian and Diarmuid O'Connor, while Aidan O’Shea, Keith Higgins and Kevin McLoughlin are all key anchors in this side. A big performance from these key men and Mayo will get over the line.

The last competitive meeting between the counties was in this year’s League (Division 1) when Mayo won by 1-19 to 1-12 in Kildare. Mayo are bidding to reach Round 4 of the qualifiers for a third successive year while Kildare are trying to make it that far for a second successive year.



1935 Kildare 2-06 Mayo 0-08

2016 Mayo 2-17 Kildare 0-14

The betting

Kildare are 5/2 here to beat the 2017 AllIreland finalists, while Mayo are 4/9 to win.

I expect mayo to come through by 3+ points though I think Kildare will come out of the blocks fast so Kildare/Mayo HT/FT at 4/1 looks tempting.

Best Bets

Cavan v Tyrone– Tyrone -5 handicap (1/1 Paddy Power)

Cavan v Tyrone – Mattie Donnelly to win Man of the Match (12/1 Paddy Power)

Kildare v Mayo – Mayo -3 handicap (11/10 Paddy Power)

Kildare v Mayo – HT/FT double result Kildare/Mayo (4/1 Paddy Power)

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