It’s NFL Round 7 this week – it’s that time of year when people leave behind their coats and scarves and instead bring radios, calculators and the occasional abacus to matches in an attempt to determine if their own county will get the result they need and indeed get help from elsewhere in order to either secure promotion or avoid the drop. Some divisions are quite clear cut, but for 18 of the 32 county teams, there still is something very real to play for this week.
Tyrone vs Kerry
On paper Tyrone are one of the fourteen sides with nothing to play for, but it’s fair to say that they would take more than a little satisfaction in beating Kerry and sending the Kingdom down to division 2. Kerry have called up three of their big-hitters this week and manager Eamon Fitzmaurice will leave no stone unturned in a bid to salvage their division 1 lives, but they couldn’t have imagined a tougher tie in which to do so. Tyrone at 13/10 with Boylesports is a decent bet here.
Donegal vs Dublin
From the start, Donegal manager Jim McGuinness has made it clear that he wasn’t concerned about getting into the playoffs, but he did want to stay up. Whether or not they achieve that goal all comes down to this tie against the Dubs, who have already qualified. Three weeks ago Dublin let down a lot of punters when they named a strong dummy team against Tyrone and without knowing what way Jim Gavin is going to approach this match, we can’t justify a bet.
Cork vs Mayo
Cork tend not to lose league games at home, but they’ve been very erratic this season. Mayo’s greater need may make the difference, but we wouldn’t like to bet here either.
Down vs Kildare
Kildare don’t need the win here and could be tempted to rest a lot of their under-21 players, many of whom have been central to their efforts this year. The problem for Down is that this Kildare panel runs deep and there are a lot of players waiting in the wings hoping to stake a claim for a place in the championship team. Money has come for the Lilies, and we can see why.
Derry vs Westmeath
Westmeath have actually picked a fairly decent team to travel here, yet all the money in the market would suggest that they’re going to roll over and die. We don’t buy into that line of thought for a moment. No bet.
Louth vs Longford
After suffering the crushing blow of relegation, Wednesday’s under-21 decider put a further dent in the feelgood factor surrounding Longford football. Nonetheless these sides are quite similar when it comes to overall level of ability and the odds are too short to justify a punt on Louth.
Armagh vs Galway
Yet again Armagh’s team selection is strongly influenced by who’s available to them rather than who they’d like to choose, while Galway are still in with a shout of making it up into division one, if they get a favour from Westmeath. We wouldn’t rule out an away win here, but Galway have been very streaky this year and they aren’t a side we trust too readily.
Wexford vs Laois
Wexford might be at home, but Laois have found some form in recent weeks and you couldn’t really fault too many of their recent performances. You can see why Boylesports are going 8/11 about an away win, even though most firms bet even money both sides. If pushed we’d back Laois, but there are better options out there.
Cavan vs Roscommon
Promotion is still a possibility for both these counties, even though the chances of Antrim doing anyone a favour by beating Monaghan are very slim. Managing the needs of the senior panel while allowing the under-21 squads to do their own thing will be the big issue for both these sides.
Sligo vs Wicklow
Sligo should win, but Sligo should also be a lot higher up the table than they are. Should isn’t really good enough for us here though.
Meath vs Fermanagh
Meath were very inconsistent in the early rounds of the league but they’ve started to string together a few back to back results now, and when we allow for the litany of injuries to key players in the Fermanagh camp, this has the potential to be quite one sided.
Monaghan vs Antrim
Antrim are still able to determine their own fate, but if we were to graph their performances since the league began, there is a clear trend of disimprovement. Monaghan should win as they like.
Offaly vs Tipperary
Tipperary made a poor start to this league campaign but they’ve hit their stride in March, looking like a team that are a class apart in division four company. Offaly come into this game on the back of three wins in succession, but they were dogged victories, where the result was in real doubt up until the last minute. Neither is home advantage significant to either of these teams in recent years – O’Connor Park used to be a fortress but lately Offaly have had more success away from home than in Tullamore. Tipperary at 4/5 are a decent play here.
Clare vs Limerick
In contrast to neighbours Tipperary, Limerick have gone off the boil in recent weeks and a scoring difference of zero would suggest that they aren’t a cut above the other teams in this league at all – they’ve just mastered the art of producing narrow victories. Clare have improved under Mick O’Dwyer and by no means should they be underdogs at home. Take the one point handicap however, in a game that could be very tight.
Leitrim vs London, Carlow vs Waterford
Nothing at stake here and no reason to get involved unless you have the inside track on how these teams plan to approach these dead rubber ties. If so, please share via the comments section below!
Tyrone vs Kerry: Tyrone @ 13/10, 1pt stake
Down vs Kildare: Kildare @ 13/10, 1pt stake
Meath vs Fermanagh: Meath to win by 7-9pts @ 13/2, 1pt stake
Monaghan vs Antrim: Monaghan -3pts @ 1/1, 3pt stake
Offaly vs Tipperary: Tipperary @ 4/5, 2pt stake
Clare vs Limerick: Clare +1pt @ 4/5, 2pt stake