Kerry (-3) – 9/5
What used to be the biggest grudge match in Gaelic football plays second fiddle to the game’s newest rivalry this weekend, and it’s clear that Kerry against Tyrone no longer holds sway over the crowds like it used to.
The main reason for that is that none of the players who played in 2008 – the last All-Ireland final contested between the pair – are still playing.
Sure, some Kerry players would have grown up hating Tyrone for beating Kerry three times and preventing them from dominating the All-Ireland on scale similar to Dublin now, but it is not the same as going out onto a pitch absolutely hating the men opposite you – which was what made Kerry and Tyrone so great.
The Kingdom have the upper hand in the rivalry recently, winning comfortably in 2012 and most recently in an All Ireland semi-final in 2015.
They are undefeated in this year’s Championship too and laid down a marker against Mayo in their Super 8 opener.
Tyrone, on the other hand, have lost twice already and will have lost any momentum they had built prior to their defeat to Dublin – regardless of whether or not it was a dead rubber. The very same thing happened with Galway last season, with the Westerners resting players for their final Super 8s game and then failing to reach the required pitch for battle.
Kerry should have too much for them.
Under 38.5 points – 5/6
The Munster men’s forwards have the potential to shoot the lights out against whoever they come up against. The fact that their 1-15 against Clare was their lowest score recorded in the Championship is a sign that they have been recording some pretty impressive figures.
But, this is Tyrone they’re up against. Regardless of whether or not Kerry have the ability to beat Mickey Harte’s men, they will struggle to rack up a huge score against them.
Not once in any of their previous five Championship clashes have Kerry and Tyrone recorded a combined score of more than 38 points.
Even in 2015 when Kerry comfortably beat Tyrone, they only recorded 32 points between them.
The Red Hands simply suffocate the life out of most attacking teams, except for Dublin, and make it damn near impossible to reach a score in the 20s.
Sunday will see a wall of defenders clad in white camped behind the ball, aiming to restrict the space and frustrate Kerry in a way Tyrone do better than anyone. Prospects of a high-scoring classic are low.
Kerry/Kerry – 7/4
Mickey Harte’s system is very effective if they can build an early lead. If the Red Hands build a lead of three points or more early on, then it may as well be 10 points.
They will happily defend from deep and force mistakes, picking off points on the counter at their leisure. The one exception to this of course, was when they took a four-point lead against Dublin early on in last year’s All-Ireland final only to be remorselessly reeled in in the space of 10 devastating first-half minutes.
Dublin are different though, and Tyrone’s system is almost unbreachable for anyone else who happens to fall behind against them.
However, if Kerry hit the front early, then it is a different story altogether. For years, Tyrone’s lack of a plan B has been called into question. They are reluctant to throw the shackles off and chase a game that they are losing.
This was apparent in the 2017 All-Ireland semi-final with Dublin, when Tyrone were rocked by an early Con O’Callaghan goal.
Not once did Tyrone try anything inventive, instead they stuck to a failed system that had no hope of sparking a comeback and Dublin strolled to another final.
If Kerry build an early lead like we expect them to, then it could be a similar story on Sunday.
* All odds correct at time of posting.