Poor Mayo just can’t catch a break from this supposed curse when it comes to winning a long-awaited All-Ireland title. Eight agonising finals have come and gone without success, but the road to the Sam Maguire starts for them again on Sunday against a Sligo side just back from living the American dream.
Thankfully for the Yeats County, they didn’t drop a Donald Trump style clanger in the Big Apple and handily accounted for a spirited New York outfit in their Championship opener a couple of weeks ago.
This challenge is a much different story for the men in black and white as they face last year’s beaten All-Ireland finalists and our traders believe Sligo have as much chance of beating Mayo as Joe Brolly has of hugging ‘the Gooch’ on his Sunday Game debut. They’re available at 8/1 if you fancy one of the biggest upsets in recent GAA history.
Mayo are as eccentric as the current US president, be they don’t need to be ‘great’ again here to cover the 1/2 alternative handicap of minus six points. The gulf in class between a Division 1 National League outfit and a mid-table Division 3 challenger should cover that on its own.
Bet bet: Mayo (-6.0) – 1/2
While not quite looking a Mount Everest-like task, Wicklow still have an absolute mountain to climb on Sunday if they are to claim victory in their Leinster Championship opener against Louth.
The Wee County proved good things come in small packages in Division 3, topping the table with impressive wins over Tipperary, Antrim and Longford – before eventually losing out to Tipp in the final. All is not rosy in the Garden County though as they only missed the wooden spoon in Division 4, thanks to their head-to-head superiority over London.
Louth are a massive 1/5 to win at Parnell Park, but for a bit of added available hit up the handicap at (-5.0) on the Wee men at Evens. To be honest, not even Diarmuid Gavin could save this Garden!
Bet bet: Louth (-5.0) – Evens
This is the weekend’s toughest game to call as only a point separated this pair at the end of the Division 3 campaign, which saw Laois disappointingly slip to relegation.
There tends to be more in-fighting in the O’Moore County than the Republican party, but they did take Longford’s scalp in the League despite having an injury-depleted squad. That situation has been rectified now for Peter Creedon’s men, although talisman Donie Kingston is a slight concern for them.
Longford, who are 15/8 to win, don’t have the best of records in Portlaoise and tend to be specialists at Quailifer-shocks rather than Leinster contenders. We’re leaning towards the home side in this one at 4/7 because of their great weapons in the forward line, but only just.
Bet bet: Laois – 4/7
Despite leading Wexford to promotion from Division 4, the wheels came off Seamus McEnaney’s League season quicker than Hillary Clinton’s US presidential campaign.
Heavy loses to Westmeath, Sunday’s opponents Carlow and Westmeath again in the League final, bookended what was a very impressive first few months of the season. That will give Carlow some hope of pulling off a home shock at 15/8.
However, The Barrowsiders attack doesn’t really compare to the talent that ‘Banty’ boasts including the likes of star names Ben Brosnan, Ciaran Lyng and PJ Banville. We’re tipping the Yellowbellies to point their way to beating a (-1.0) handicap at 4/5.
Bet bet: Wexford (-1.0) – 4/5
In what is Ireland’s most competitive Championship, Donegal have probably drawn the easiest tie they could have hoped for in Antrim.
The Saffrons have seemed more interested in Law & Order role-playing this week, as they battled the GAA (with the help of Joe Brolly) to free Matt Fitzpatrick ahead of Sunday’s match, than the monumental challenge of facing Rory Gallagher new-look outfit.
Three divisions will separate these two in the National League next season, but the gap between them is much bigger. Our traders reflect that by making the Tír Conaill men huge 1/16 favourites, but with Michael Murphy licking his lips for a crack at a weak Antrim defence, we’re going with Donegal to kick-off their Ulster challenge with a bang – beating the (-7.0) alternative handicap at 8/13.
Bet bet: Donegal (-7.0) – 8/13