This is going to be Armagh’s, there’s no doubt about that. Even though Wicklow did well against Meath, Armagh are smarting from the way they went down against Donegal. There’s only one result and that’s a home win for Armagh, I’d even be for them -13pts on the handicap.
Donegal v Derry, Saturday 7pm
Donegal have had two great wins over Tyrone and Armagh and Derry, of course, struggled badly in the league, were relegated and don’t look to be going anywhere in a hurry. Even though they do have a first round win over Down they were pretty fortunate to get there in the end. Donegal are nailed-on for this game, it’s just a matter of how much they win by. They’re value at 10/11 to win by four points or more. I don’t see Derry putting up a huge resistance. They’ll probably play very defensively but Donegal are a team on a mission and they’re playing better than last year.
The factPaddy McBrearty is being played very close to the goal makes him the strong favourite to score the first goal at 6/1. It was a long ball from Murphy in to McBrearty which set up the first goal against Armagh. I’m sure Donegal will set up like that again with Murphy playing further out, feeding the ball in to McBrearty.
The odds for Dublin (1/5) are probably a little false given that Kildare (7/2) have had very good teams up from U14, U16. At those levels in Leinster they have a very strong panel. Normally at this stage of the competition you can sort of chalk up a Dublin win. They had two teams in the Leinster minor league, they’re now combined in to one and will be stronger but the odds are far too long and Kildare have a chance.
Meath v Westmeath, Sunday 2pm
Wicklow, who are the 31st team in the country when it comes to league results, they only won one game and drew one, were able to score 3-12 against Meath. Now this is a different Meath team, there are five changes from that side and a lot of the big players are back who were injured against Wicklow so they will be mush stronger.
I saw Meath play Westmeath in the league, Meath won by 4-10 to 0-11 but this is not an open and shut case by any means. I won’t be running to the piggy bank to back Meath and I think the handicap favours Westmeath in this case. Obviously I’m hoping Meath win by 10 points but I think this will be a close run affair.
Graham Reilly has a very good goalscoring record against Westmeath and is a great price at 12/1 to score the first goal in this game.
Dublin v Kildare, Sunday 4pm
It’s 15 years since Kildare have beaten Dublin in Leinster and I think it’s going to be 16. Even though Kildare have had the benefit of a win over Laois after a draw so they’ve had two good games. I don’t think there’s any chance of Dublin being complacent because there are too many players pushing for places on the panel, let alone the starting line-up.
It will be an easy win for Dublin. The handicap is 11 points and Kildare should be able to keep it within that margin. Surely there’s no team with any self-respect left at this stage of the competition who would allow Dublin to beat them by more than 11 points.
As far as the first goalscorer goes you could choose from half a dozen on the Dublin team but Bernard Brogan and Kevin McMenamin would be the sort of players to score early. If Kildare do score first then Alan Smith is their most likely candidate.
Tyrone v Limerick, Sunday 4pm
Tyrone will certainly win this one but the bet for me is Limerick -10 pts at 10/11.
Colm’s Weekend Treble: Kildare +11pts, Wexford +3pts and Limerick +10pts at 13/2
On the decision not to sell the Spawell site to the Dublin County Board:
I think what happened with the Spawell site is a disgrace. This was an ideal location for Dublin to expand their activities outside the city, close to the M50. They could build a new stadium there and have all of their training pitches in the one location. NAMA are supposed to have a social ethic but that doesn’t appear as though it’s being applied here. The whole thing has gone mad. It was a great opportunity considering the property was in the hands of the state to give it to somebody who were going to do something for the good of all people rather than to private developers for their own profit.