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Senan Connell previews the O’Byrne Cup final

by Rob Dore | January 26, 2013

Senan Connell

Dublin v Kildare
The O’Byrne Cup Final – Parnell Park
Saturday 7pm

We’ve two teams coming in to this game with very different agendas. Kildare have erred on the side of caution in their team selection, going back to the trusted the tried and the proven whereas as Dublin have been very experimental with their line-ups.

From Dublin’s point of view coming in to this game it’s very much players trying to consolidate their place in the panel or else they’re trying to fight to get in to the 30 man league squad Dublin manager Jim Gavin is going to release later in the week.

Looking at the prices, Dublin are the favourites at 8/15 and Kildare at 15/8, I think they’re quite generous odds from Kildare’s point of view. I believe Kieran McGeeney is going out this year with the idea that his team are going to win every game. That includes the O’Byrne Cup and games in the national league. They’re playing the last three All Ireland champions over the next few weeks and Kieran will be looking to hit the ground running.

A lot of people have been talking Dublin up to win this game but I’m not so sure

There has never been a massive amount between the sides in terms of the back-line or in terms of scores on the board at the end of the game. I expect a similarly close game in this final.

Senan Says: Kildare +2pts at 10/11

Seanie Johnston (Kildare)

I expect at lot from him this season. He has a lot to prove to everybody. Not in terms of pressure but in terms of performances and proving his worth a place in this Kildare side. I believe he’s absolutely flying at the moment. The heavy ground this time of year doesn’t usually suit the lighter players but I hear he’s bouncing off the ground looking very keen and eager.

We know he has a good eye for a goal and he’s a sharp shooter when it comes to his free-kicks. If he gets a sniff of goal he’ll certainly bang one away. He might find it hard on the heavy ground and competing against very physical Dublin backs to sneak in and get a goal but certainly he’ll keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Bernard Brogan (Dublin)

We know he wasn’t at his best in the Summer last year and he himself has put this down to the fact that he missed the early months of training when he was away. He had a niggling injury all the way through the National League and he never really recovered the form which saw him named Footballer of the Year the season before.

If Dublin are going to be successful this year they need Bernard playing well. He’s showing a nice bit of form and I thought he looked very sharp in a couple of the qualifiers, particularly against DCU. He scored 2-7 last week, scoring two goals in 90 seconds, and that’s the sort of form your marquee forward should be showing in any competition.

Dublin are evens to score the first goal and that’s a bet I’d fancy with Brogan in this form. He’s 11/2 to score the first goal, which is well worth backing.

Senan Says: Brogan to score first goal at 11/2.

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