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The All-Ireland Football quarter-finals take place this weekend with four cracking matches in store. On Saturday, Derry take on Clare while Dublin go up against Cork. The action continues on Sunday with Galway and Armagh going head-to-head before Kerry and Mayo round off the weekend’s action.
We’ve turned to our man Aidan O’Mahony for his take on what’s to come…
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I think over all the four games this weekend, Clare could be one of the dark horses. We talk a lot about systems and setups and we talk a lot about Derry and the way they’ve come out of the Ulster Championship. They’ve beaten Tyrone and Donegal but I just think this could one of the games where Clare upset the favourites here.
They’re one of those teams with nothing to lose and they’ve got very good forwards with the likes of Keelan Sexton, Eoin Cleary, David Tubridy. Everyone will probably look at Derry to get over the line but I just have a sneaky feeling that Clare might turn this game over for the first time ever.
If those forwards get enough of the ball I think they’ll have a lot of firepower. The game will be very tight but I think Clare will be one of the teams over the weekend to cause an upset.
Keelan Sexton is one of those players who plays off the cuff, like Con O’Callaghan. You give him the ball and he’s straight for goal so I think if you want a goalscorer, he’s your best bet.
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A lot of people are giving Cork grief about Dublin. I think Cork are one of those teams that actually enjoy playing Dublin but a lot of talk has been about them being a 50-minute team.
We’ve written Dublin off so much. We talk about them being in transition and being relegated to division two but they haven’t gone away. Cork will set up with damage limitation in mind and stay in the game as long as they can. But there’s only going to be one winner and that’s Dublin.
Whenever Con O’Callaghan does interviews he always talks about wanting to get his down and go for goals which is a great philosophy and he’s definitely your best bet for first goalscorer. A lot has changed with Dublin’s play because he’s back in the team now. We’ve spoken about them in negative form but now he’s back, he seems to have changed the whole team again.
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Armagh are starting to come good and every game they seem to try out something different which a lot of teams aren’t. They’re playing with their usual system and set-plays but Armagh are trying new things and they did a job on Donegal.
This game will be tight but I think Armagh will sneak it by two or three points. A lot will depend on Armagh defensively, they were porous in the first few games of the Championship and Galway will have looked at that. However, it’s hard to know where Galway are at and the backdoor has suited Armagh.
I think we’ll see a goal, probably from a set-play. I think Armagh will use Rian O’Neill and he’ll be your best bet for first goalscorer.
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There’s a lot of talk at home about Kerry preparing themselves for Dublin in the semi-final. At the same time they’ll be edgy because Mayo are so unpredictable you just don’t know what’s ahead of you. I don’t think that was a realistic Mayo team in the league final but at the same time I don’t think they’ve performed as well in the last couple of years in the Championship.
The team seems to be a bit unsettled. Ryan O’Donoghue is missing in the forwards, he’s a huge loss. They’re not putting up big scores but they are Mayo and they’re one that can come out and turn over anyone.
However, Kerry at the moment are well set up defensively and they have the firepower as well. We saw in the last game even without David Clifford they put up a massive score. So I think Kerry will win but there’s always that fear of which Mayo will turn up.
If you’re going for a goalscorer, I’d go for Tony Brosnan. He’s one of those guys who’s head down first and he’s a good bet if he starts.
Aidan O’Mahony’s GAA Tips
Derry v Clare: Clare to win (+6) & Keelan Sexton first goalscorer
Dublin v Cork: Dublin to win (-12) & Con O’Callaghan first goalscorer
Galway v Armagh: Armagh to win and Rian O’Neill first goalscorer
Kerry v Mayo: Kerry to win and Tony Brosnan first goalscorer
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