GAA: Tough Tyrone can limit hamstrung Antrim


GAA analyst Garreth Porter (@porterg94) has joined the WLB stable to oversee the best betting options from this summer's road to the All Ireland Championship, starting with Saturday's Ulster quarter-final showdown between Antrim and Tyrone. 

Antrim v Tyrone | Saturday 25th May 2019, 18:00

This Ulster quarter-final encounter is the first game I’m going to try and decipher.

Tyrone were dealt with the short straw, and slung into the Championship at the preliminary round stage. They conquered Derry, on a scoreline of 1-19 to 1-13, which perhaps may inflate Tyrone’s performance slightly. You can make excuse that when they realised they were actually in a competitive battle, they rose above it and saw the game out in relentless fashion.

Derry led late in the second half, but it was very short lived, as Tyrone substitute McCurry bagged a goal which buoyed Tyrone to victory.

Antrim competed at the same level as Derry in the national league, and were only beaten by a solidary point. Antrim’s league campaign was satisfactory; their defensive set-up meant they only conceded on average 12.85 points per-game.

These type of statistics can easily be skewed, but in this case the games rolled in a fairly consistent matter, with the highest-scored against Antrim being 14, so I can take those on face-value. They on average scored 14.2 points per-game, over a seven-match period. The highest scored being 21 points, with the lowest being just nine. The 21 points scored against Wicklow was a dead-rubber game.

Antrim’s totals away from home were 18, 11, 13 and 9. These all came against teams miles inferior to Tyrone. Covering their record over the last three years in the Ulster championship, they have amassed 14, 12, and 9 point totals in their first round ties, of which all have ended in defeats.

Antrim manager, Lenny Harbison has seemed frustrated in the media, with his complaints of his ‘understrength squad’. Ten players who started their qualifier defeat to Offaly last season are not amongst the squad.

Now they come up against a Tyrone team who have become more fluent with their attacking emphasis and also possess a fantastic backline. Defensively, they conceded the third fewest in Division One, on average 13.6 points per-game. They held Cavan, Kerry and Roscommon to scores of 12 points or less, and that leads me to my selection.

Antrim are seemingly depleted for this David vs Goliath clash, and on the basis that they seemingly adapted a defensive approach in Division 4, I expect them to barricade the floodgates and try and stop this game turning into an embarrassing whitewash, which will stop them bearing fruit via scores at the other end. The Antrim points total of Under 12.5 at 4/5 with Boylesports looks a cracking bet.

Best Bets

Antrim v Tyrone – Antrim to score Under 12.5 Points (4/5 Boylesports)

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