Four teams remain in the hunt for the Sam Maguire Cup as semi-final weekend approaches. On Saturday evening hot favorites Dublin face a rejuvenated Mayo, while on Sunday afternoon a youthful Kerry side take on the hugely experienced Tyrone.
A range of betting markets are available with Toals Bookmakers for both matches, as well as two enhanced price specials:
Dublin and Kerry (both to win) 11/8
Dublin (-5) and Kerry (-1) 16/5
A repeat of the 2016 and 2017 All-Ireland finals, both of which Dublin won by a single point, the former only after a replay. Although a more one-sided affair may be on the cards here, it isn’t much of an exaggeration to suggest that Dublin’s title defense begins on Saturday evening in Croke Park. Given the ease by which they coasted to another Leinster title (their ninth in a row) and their routine dismissal of Cork, Roscommon and Tyrone in the Super 8s, there is little doubt that Mayo represents their toughest assignment of the campaign so far. That match against Tyrone saw the reintroduction of Diarmuid Connelly after over a year out, to an attack that already included the likes of Dean Rock, Paul Mannion and Con O’Callaghan. Dublin look strong all over the field and there is little to suggest they will fall short in their drive for five.
After a disappointing campaign by their own high standards last year, Mayo bounced back this season, capping their league campaign with a convincing victory over Kerry in the final. While they looked below par against the same opposition in the super 8s, they came good when they needed to against Donegal last week to set up this clash. The reappointment of James Horan seems to have freshened things up for the Connaught side and the form of Aidan O’Shea in particular will give some supporters reason to hope. Mayo are a good benchmark, and at times can look excellent, but this Dublin team is special and they are a strong selection to make it to the final, covering the handicap spread in the process.
Selection – Dublin (-6) 19/20
Kerry aren’t fairing too badly for a team supposedly in transition. Five all-Ireland minor titles in a row point to a bright future for the Kingdom, but this team may be ready to win now. Their perennial conveyor belt of talent seems in good order with top class players such as Sean O’Shea and David Clifford now bedded into a team that still contains experience in the form of players like Shane Enright in the back line and Paul Geaney up front, the latter seemingly back to his excellent best in recent weeks.
This is still a largely inexperienced side though and with first year manager Peter Keane up against sixteen year veteran Micky Harte on the sidelines, Tyrone are poised to give this exciting Kerry team a thorough examination on Sunday.
Experience then, is the key to Tyrone’s chances here if they are to cause an upset and advance to their second final in as many years. Kerry won’t like the physical approach of the Ulster side and if the game is in the balance in the last 10 minutes, the more battle hardened of the two sides may fancy their chances.
Expect Tyrone to keep it tight for 50 minutes or so, but ready reference is for Kerry to advance, as they should have too much ability, particularly in the forwards for a Tyrone side who are full value for their place in the semi-finals. Take Kerry minus a point in the handicap market to set up many people’s idea of a dream final against Dublin.
Selection – Kerry (-1) 19/20