It’s 2009 since Kerry last beat Dublin at this stage of the Championship and if they are to have any hope of causing an upset in Sunday’s semi-final, the Kingdom will have to hit the net more than once.
My feeling is that Kerry need to score three goals to have any chance against the Capital and need to put Kieran Donaghy in at full forward and feed him plenty of high ball.
Paul Ganey or even Cromane club man Donncha Walsh could be their main goal threats at 7/1 and 16/1 in the first goalscorer market respectively.
Many will fancy James O’Donoghue but he’s more of a point scorer than goal-getter for me.
Dublin have Bernard Brogan at the top of their first goalscorer market at 7/1 which is hardly a surprise as he’s their most prolific goal scorer. But Diarmuid Connolly takes the penalties and rarely misses – so if you think the referee could be pointing to the spot in this game – he’s one to consider.
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Dublin are still odds-on in the match betting but they’re the best price they’ve been all season. The prices seem to be based more on the long-standing tradition between these two glamour sides and a lot of people will feel that Kerry can’t be as bad as they were in the League final.
But the Capital have been in control of this fixture recently and the gap between them seems to be widening. If Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s side are to get a result here they’ll then have to play a disruptive, defensive type of game and pack their defence to keep the Dubs at bay. And they must recapture their ruthless streak again if they take control of this fixture.
Kerry were cruising in the 2011 All Ireland Final but messed around too much in the middle of the field and allowed Kevin McManaman in for a 64th-minute goal before goalkeeper Steven Cluxton’s injury time free-kick gave Dublin a one-point win.
In many ways, Kerry let the genie out of the bottle that day as the Dubs get the monkey of a first All Ireland win since 1995 off their back. And the Kingdom haven’t been able to put them back in the bottle since.
Dublin ended up with just 13 men against Donegal but still managed to beat them. There’s some suggestion that Kerry an take some inspiration from this, but really if Donegal hadn’t been gifted a goal from defensive error the winning margin could have been 10 points.
I really can’t see Kerry derailing them now and even think the Dubs will cover the handicap (-3) at 6/5 at the weekend also. If Jim Gavin’s side were playing anyone other than Kerry the handicap would be -5 or -6 points and I still think they can cover that.
Kerry have only beaten Clare twice and Tipperary and it’s not an ideal path to a semi-final. They haven’t been tested this year and while they may come into the game fresh – there’s nothing like proper Championship games to get you focused and ready for the battle.
Dublin are on a long winning run and I don’t see that ending anytime soon and to be perfectly honest the 8/11 about them winning another All Ireland looks a good bet to me at this stage. If they beat Kerry on Sunday they’ll be long odds on against Mayo in a couple of weeks time.