The ground might only be starting to harden, but some of the country’s top sides face their toughest tests to date ahead of the final round of the National Football League.
Mayo’s form has been more up and down than a newlywed’s underwear since the beginning of the League with them alternating being written off and being praised to the hilt off the back of their performances.
In their final outing they face the surprise package of this campaign Donegal, in a game that they have to win to be assured of avoiding relegation. The Tír Conaill men were written off before a ball was even kicked having been hit by a spate of retirements and Odhrán Mac Niallais, one of the best footballers in the country, deciding to take a break for the year.
Despite all this Rory Gallagher has developed a very impressive side in a short period of time that hasn’t lost since their opening game.
However, I think that streak (not anywhere near Dublin’s one) might be about to end and here’s why:
Given the setbacks that I mentioned earlier Donegal would’ve entered the league with an aim of staying up, something that they’ve already achieved, and I’m not quite sure if they’ll be overly keen on a league final especially without their talisman Ryan McHugh – who’s out injured.
Mayo have to win this game. If the Green and Red were to go down the locals would make more noise than a hen night in Westport and Stephen Rochford knows this, the players are more than aware of it as well so they’ll all be giving that little big extra ahead of their home support.
Lastly, there’s the small matter of the man in the middle: Cormac Reilly a man who needs no introduction to Mayo fans following his performance in their infamous 2014 Semi-Final replay loss to Kerry.
Ref Reilly knows that he’ll be under the spotlight, so don’t be surprised if The Westerner’s get more their fair share of 50/50 calls.
Therefore my main bet for the weekend is going to be on Mayo -2 at 6/5.
Looking elsewhere, Cavan at 4/7 to beat a deflated and already relegated Roscommon seems a no-brainer.
Neither Kerry or Tyrone have managed to put together a consistent run of form this campaign and with both not having to win on Sunday, this looks the trickiest fixture of the weekend. It’s a game that I can’t see either side running away with, so there might be some value in the draw at 15/2.
And finally, Monaghan at 10/3 to beat what could be a somewhat-weakened Dublin team and end their Undertaker-esque streak could well merit a fiver.