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Cork are the heavy favourites to stay up in Division 2 of the National League and beat Westmeath on Saturday. But, if you saw Cork against Kildare in the first round of the League you wouldn’t have been impressed with The Rebels at all – and that goes for their performance in beating Clare too.
Westmeath have had their own struggles in the League, particularly in their last game against Down. This is likely to be tighter than the five-point handicap on offer though and I believe Westmeath (+5) is a nice bet for this one. Cork are likely to win, but I reckon the visitors will hold them close in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
I’m a big fan of Kerry in the betting anytime they play at home and this game is no different. Tyrone will have a long journey down to the Kingdom and I’d say their focus has shifted to the Ulster Championship.
Tyrone have secured their status in Division 1 now, and they won’t be that pushed on whether they get to the final of the National League or not. This will be a good game for Tyrone’s Championship preparations though, and they could try out some of their fringe players in Killarney.
Kerry have all the advantages here and it will mean more to them to get to a National League final. The Munster Championship is not as daunting a prospect for Kerry as the Ulster one is for Tyrone, so that’s another reason why I fancy they home side here.
There’ll still be no love lost between these counties, but things have calmed down since the height of their rivalry. I fancy Kerry to beat the handicap of four points here, it’s a real bet and I’m telling everyone to get on it!
This will be even tighter than the day’s other Division 2 relegation play-off between Cork and Westmeath. These are two teams who have been very poor in the National League and who have been quite unimpressive in their matches to date.
Down should grab a home victory, but Laois have a two-point advantage available to them on the handicap and I fancy them to bring that bet up in this match-up.
The neutral venue for this semi-final shouldn’t make difference to the result. Dublin are able to win no matter what pitch in Ireland you put them in. People want them brought out of Croke Park in the Leinster Championship, but it won’t change anything.
Donegal, a bit like I mentioned with Tyrone earlier, will have their proprieties elsewhere for this game. Declan Bonner’s men will have already got as much as they’ve wanted out of this National League campaign. Michael Murphy is injured for them and he’s their best player, without him they struggle.
Even though The Dubs have been fielding a lot of youth in their line-ups of late, and it’s obvious they are trying to find three or four new men for the Championship, they still have a great core of players around them. This has to be a Dublin win, and they should take down the four-point handicap as well in Cavan.
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