It’s week two of the Allianz League and Paddy Power’s Senan Connell previews the Division One games and fancies an 11/4 treble of Cork, Donegal and Dublin. [Tweet this tip].
Cork v Kildare, Saturday, 7pm
You have to fancy Kildare, they’re great value going in to this game. They’re riding high and coming in to this game on a crest of a wave. The team is full of confidence and they’re great value at 5/2. Not only their performance at Croke Park last week against Donegal but the Auburn Cup gave them great confidence going forward. They have six games under their belt already and they are unbeaten this since. Cork are coming in to this game on the back of a heavy enough defeat 1-18 to 2-9 against Dublin, and Kildare are confident. The league is a slow burner for Kildare in recent years but they have two points in the bag and have been putting in some serious performances.
For first goalscorer you have to look at Tomas O’Connor. He’s in and around the scoring area for the whole match, he isn’t shipping out to midfield like a lot of full-forwards are. He is worth looking at after two goals in two games and his confidence is high. From a Cork point of view Colm O’Neill is a serious threat. Last weekend the Dublin keeper pulled off some great saves to deny him a goal and O’Neill will always play in and around the goal.
This will be a tighter match than people are expecting and the draw on the handicap (-3) looks like a good bet.
Donegal v Down, Saturday, 7pm
Home advantage is huge and Donegal are playing in Balleybofey. The League was a slow burner for them last year, like Kildare, but once they start performing and get the fitness into their legs, the fact that they’re All-Ireland Champions, they’ll pick off games and get points on the board. They’ll earmark this game for victory because it is at home and it is against an Ulster side. We saw what the All-Ireland experience did to this Donegal side and their fitness.
They are only at 70 per cent fitness compared to what they were in February and March last year. The fact that they have the All-Ireland experience will give them serious confidence and they’ll be expecting to stay up which means they need six points and this is one they can just win.
In terms of the handicap, Down are +3 and that is good value at 10/11. Michael Murphy shifted between full-forward and midfield last week and he looks like the one threat who will get a goal when Connor McFadden isn’t playing. Murphy had a sniff of goal at Croke Park last week when he was surrounded by a lot of Kildare backs. He hit it off the outside off his right boot and it went just over the bar.
The odds will be short on him but he’s the one to look for as a first goalscorer, plus if there’s a penalty he’s the one who is going to be hitting it.
Kerry v Dublin, Sunday, 2pm
Dublin should be the favourites going in to this game. They don’t have any baggage and they have six games played already – five in the Auburn Cup and a good performance in Croke Park last weekend. They are coming in against a Kerry side who played against lesser sides in the McGrath Cup and won it, but they were surprised in Mayo. They didn’t score for the last 43 minutes which you can’t remember any Kerry side doing before. Maybe their confidence is low. This young Dublin side is travelling down to Killarny on Sunday with no baggage. What will differentiate the two teams will be the forwards.
Paddy Andrews was man of the match last week kicking five points, Bernard Brogan kicked six points and Dermot Connoly showed flashes of brilliance as well. Compare that to the Kerry forward line that didn’t shoot at all. They scored 1-6 in 70 minutes of play and not scoring for the last 43. The confidence is certainly with Dublin.
Bernard Brogan will play very close to the goal all match and it’s hard to look past him for first goalscorer. He is creating a lot as well and he is not a one-dimensional goalscorer. You should look at Dermot Connolly as well, if Dublin get a penalty he will hit it and if he ever gets a sniff of goal in and around the ‘D’ he always has his eyes on the net. From Kerry’s point of view, look at Darran O’Sullivan.
He is a very dynamic forward and a proper box-to-box player. It’ll be interesting to see if he gets any kind of space this weekend. As a first goalscorer this weekend though, you can’t look past Bernard Brogan.
Dublin can sneak this here so stay clear of Kerry on the handicap. If things go against Kerry they could be beaten by five or six points. It will go one of two ways: either it will be a very tight match, close to a draw or Dublin will win by a few. That’s why you should stay clear of backing Kerry on the handicap.
Mayo v Tyrone, Sunday 2pm
Home advantage is huge in this one. You can go to Castlebar with the wind in your sails expecting a victory and you just might not get it. Mayo are a tough proposition and we saw that last weekend. They are a team that is very well established in Division One.
They’ve been there since 1998 and every other team has gone up or down at some stage since then. They have realised that their first two matches were at home and they already have two points in the bag. If they want to be making a semi-final they need to win both of their home games to ease the pressure on the road. You’d expect them to put another serious performance in this weekend.
As for Tyrone coming up from Division Two, they will always put a fight in. The wind is in their sails after the win against Down but it might be difficult for them to go to Castlebar. It’s always a heavy pitch but Mayo love it and they know the parameters well. The home side can win this by a couple of scores.