By Aidan Elder | Chief sports writer
It’s the two best teams in the country. One the perennial evil Goliath with a swagger that always suggests they fancy their chances of winning the All-Ireland, the other the tragic aristocrats who have endured more heart-break than a 50 year old spinster. It’s the final that the neutrals wanted to see. Two attacking teams with questionable defensive abilities. It could go either way, but here’s a look at where the money has been going so far.
The odds say it’s going to be incredibly tight, but the way the money has been going says ‘shut up odds, you don’t know what you’re talking about’. The odds paint a picture of a game in which both teams have pretty much a 50-50 chance, but perhaps influenced by the decades of Mayo heartache in All-Ireland Finals, punters have been lumping on to Dublin for victory. Just under 70 per cent of all match bets have been for the Jackeens with the westerners getting just 20 per cent of support. There’s also a sizeable chunk of people praying for a draw – and not just the one’s in the GAA’s corporate offices. 11 per cent of bets have been for the stalemate. After the hurling decider requiring a replay, it would give the organisation a major headache – namely where to put all their money.
He may not have been at his imperious best throughout the Championship, but punters are keeping the faith when it comes to Bernard Brogan. He’s managed to go agonisingly close with a few gilt-edged goal chances in recent matches, but with the goal chances the Dubs have been creating, he’ll surely get at least one more bite of the cherry and no doubt he’ll eventually rattle the back of the net. The second most popular option in the market is Diarmuid Connolly. Like Brogan, he hasn’t exactly been rattling in the goals throughout the Championship, but he’s mercurial enough to change that on the big stage.
Mayo on the other hand have been racking up the goals – thanks in large part to the Connacht Championship. Cillian O’Connor has already bagged two hat-tricks in the run to the final and five points today will make him the Championship’s top scorer. He’s a popular choice to get the first goal followed not far behind by team-mates Andy Moran and Alan Freemnan. Fans of the barreling run from midfield are numerous enough to have Michael Darragh MacAuley and Aidan O’Shea among the top choices in the First Goalscorer betting.