Dublin v Mayo: Three top tips for Saturday’s semi-final

Can Mayo end the Drive for Five?

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Mayo (+5) – Evens

Maybe it’s the romantic in fans across the country that makes them optimistic about Mayo’s chances on Sunday because going on form, they haven’t got a hope.

Dublin have obliterated everyone they’ve come across since their last meeting with Mayo in the 2017 All-Ireland final, while Mayo have absorbed more body blows than a punch-drunk boxer over the course of two gruelling years.

The Westerners have limped through the Championship this season and have been put to the pin of their collar by Down, Armagh and Donegal – in addition to being beaten by Roscommon and Kerry.

You would be forgiven for thinking that Dublin were going to pummel Mayo into next year on Saturday.

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However, Mayo always raise their game when they face the men from the capital and have been the only ones to consistently put it up to them in the last five years.

Dublin won’t have it all their own way and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them troubled in a manner that they haven’t been since their last meeting in 2017.

It’s surely this Mayo team’s last stand. Yes, that has been said before, but this current crop will likely never get another chance to really trouble their old advisories. Dublin are only going to get better, as are Kerry and Mayo’s chances of winning an All-Ireland will fade away once more.

Having said that, they are still searching for a first win over a Jim Gavin team in 14 National League and Championship outings, he most certainly has their number. They will probably lose, although not by much as pundits think.

Mayo half time/Dublin full-time – 9/2

If there is one thing that Dublin have shown time and time again over the last number of years, it is an absolute ruthlessness in the closing stages of games. This year, in particular, they have remorselessly demolished teams as the games entered the final straight.

Their fitness and the strength of their bench is second to none in the country and they have had an unprecedented ruthlessness instilled in them by Jim Gavin.

However, they may need to use that trait to overturn a half time deficit on Saturday.

Mayo will come flying out of the traps, that much is guaranteed. They will want to hit Dublin early and often as it is questionable whether they will be able to stay with them having played seven matches in the last eight weeks.

Mayo led at the break in the 2013 and 2017 All-Ireland final, as well as going in level in the 2015 All-Ireland semi-final replay. They eventually lost all three games, as Dublin didn’t panic and overcame the challenge in front of them.

Gavin’s team will not panic if they are a point or two behind at the break on Saturday either.

Over 3.5 goals – 2/1

Mayo need goals if they are to do the unthinkable and beat Dublin. Donegal, the last team to beat Dublin in a Championship game, needed three to do it.

Dublin are a good bet to find the back of the net whenever they play, failing to raise a green flag in just one of their last 19 games. That was in a 15-point hammering of Kildare this season when the need for goals wasn’t exactly at a critical level.

The Dubs have averaged over two goals a game this season and did the same last year.

Mayo have hit more than one goal on three occasions this summer and will absolutely need to do so again this Saturday.

Interestingly, Dublin and Mayo have breached the 3.5 goal mark only once in their six Championship games since 2013. On that occasion, Dublin outscored Mayo by three goals to one.

Mayo will need to reverse that if they are to have any hope of dethroning the Dubs.

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* All odds correct at time of posting. 

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