Mayo vs Donegal: Donegal (-3) – 8/5
If there was one game that the GAA powers that be could point to as proof that the Super 8s work, it is this one.
Ironically though, it is also about as close to the old system as you’re going to get in that it’s two teams playing in each other in a straight knockout scenario. The only differences between this game and a quarter-final from two years ago, are that Mayo have home advantage and that a draw wouldn’t result in a replay, but in Donegal’s progression.
Mayo, for the umpteenth time, have proved extremely hard to kill off. They should have gone out against Armagh and, with 20 minutes remaining against Meath at Croke Park, looked up against it.
However, here they stand with home advantage, 70 minutes from a place in the All Ireland semi-final yet again.
Yet, while Mayo’s absolute refusal to die has been admirable, they have not really beaten anyone that they wouldn’t have expected to – save for a Galway team that had really been meandering towards an early Championship exit since their first game against London.
In their two games against opposition of a similar calibre, Mayo have come unstuck. They might put the Roscommon defeat down to a sluggish start and being caught on the hop, but they were well and truly outclassed by an impressive Kerry outfit in the opening round of the Super 8s. Donegal, meanwhile, came very close to beating Kerry two weeks ago in the game of the year.
Donegal are probably the biggest threat to Dublin and it’s hard to see anything but a victory for the Ulster men against a well-travelled Mayo side. They could do it with a bit to spare too.
Meath vs Kerry: Double Result (Meath half-time/Kerry full time) – 6/1
You have to feel for Meath slightly. They have been very competitive in both of their Super 8 games to date, and have led as the contests entered the final straight, only to utterly implode in the closing stages on both occasions.
It has been a recurring theme for Meath in the Championship, who were also only six down against Dublin in the Leinster final after 50 minutes before going on to lose by an embarrassing 16-points.
They just can’t seem to sustain a challenge and it means that they go into this game with Kerry with nothing but pride to play for.
Kerry, on the other hand, are in pole position to claim top spot in Group One of the Super 8s and avoid a probable semi-final date with Dublin.
A superior points difference, coupled with the fact that they have an easier task than Donegal, means that they should have enough to top the group.
You can be assured that Meath will make life difficult for them, and may even lead for portions of the game. However, if their displays against Dublin, Mayo and Donegal are to be taken into account, they will probably fall away.
* All odds correct at time of posting and may vary up to throw-in.