* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
Clare have been breath of fresh air in Division 2 of the National League. They were looked on as a soft touch by everyone before the League started, but people have quickly found out they are anything but an easy game through the course of the competition. Mayo will also learn that on Sunday.
Mayo are heavy favourites to win this semi-final though, and the price may be slightly insulting to The Banner County. I fancy Clare to cover the six-point handicap on offer here. They are very difficult to beat at home in Cusask Park in Ennis, but Mayo should travel with a very strong team for this match as they want to get back up into Division 1. But, I believe Clare will run James Horan’s side a lot closer than the handicap believes.
It’s right that the prices on either side winning this semi-final are tight, but I am a bit surprised that the odds say Kildare are the outsiders. But, I suppose Meath did score five goals against The Lilywhites in the Championship last year. I don’t expect them to do something similar in Newbridge on Sunday though.
Neither Kildare or Meath have really caught my eye in their respective National League campaigns, but this could be the biggest game of the year for both teams. They are both highly unlikely to win the Leinster Championship given Dublin’s utter dominance of it, so getting back to Division 1 of the League, is a huge carrot for both of these counties.
Kildare also have home comforts to fall back on and that makes their price a tad generous. Obviously, my heart will want Meath to be victorious, but I’d be fearful of their chances and I believe Jack O’Connor’s men will come out on top here.
I believe Armagh have been very unfortunate to find themselves in a relegation play-off, they have played very well in the National League. They have more than hung in there with some of their Ulster Championship rivals. They drew with Donegal on their last outing though, but they needed a win to stay up and get into the League semi-finals. Their position in these relegation play-offs is a bit false if you ask me though.
For their part, Roscommon have struggled badly against the top teams. But, maybe they have had slightly stiffer opposition than Armagh had in the League to date. I still fancy this to be a home win for The Orchard County though, and they deserve another crack at Division 1 next year.
Monaghan are a bit like Armagh, in that they’ve been unlucky to find themselves scrapping it out for relegation. They’ve played some really nice stuff in a lot of their matches so far. I was particularly taken with Seamus ‘Banty’ McEnaney’s men against Donegal in a high-scoring draw a few weeks ago.
Monaghan have introduced quite a few players to the intercounty scene in this National League campaign and they have impressed me. On the flip side, Galway got a real hammering from Kerry on the opening day, then they beat Roscommon the week after. But, they then went under to Dublin at home by five points last time out.
This should be one of the best games of the entire weekend. But, home advantage for Monaghan should be huge and I’m leaning towards them to score victory here, sending Galway down to Division 2 in the process.
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