The final two contestants in All Ireland U21 football semi-finals will be known after tonight’s action, and while the bookies fancy Cavan and Cork to lift the two provincial titles that are on offer, only one of those two counties look like decent value to us here at BetPreviews, based on the betting that’s currently on offer.
Cavan vs Donegal
This will be Cavan’s fourth provincial under-21 decider in a row and while their personnel will have changed a lot from year to year, there’s a lot to be said for a culture of success, particularly in a county that has been starved of good news on the field of play in recent seasons. The Breffni County have been very solid in their two outings so far, beating a good Monaghan team and cutting through Down with ease. They’ve got some nice young attackers in the side but defensively they’ve been hugely impressive and that will be vitally important against a Donegal side that are scoring quite well.
It’s no surprise that Paddy McBrearty is the main influence in this Donegal outfit and he’s been operating as a withdrawn forward for the Tír Chonaill men, dictating the play by getting on a lot of ball in the middle third of the field. That’s not to say that there aren’t some very capable players dotted throughout the field, but you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear and at minor level Donegal have been distinctly underwhelming for some time.
Maxi Curran has done a great job with limited enough resources but a young Derry team tested them defensively and they may find that Cavan are too strong tonight in Enniskillen. Boylesports are top of the shop with 8/11, which will do us perfectly well.
Cork vs Tipperary
Based on the minor form of three years ago, when Cork beat Tipp 2-12 to 2-9 in the Munster decider before going on to lose the All Ireland final, this price would make a reasonable sense. However since then, Tipp have made a significant amount of changes and many of this team are from their successful 2011 and 2012 minor squads. Only five of the players named to start tonight also started that minor game of three seasons ago, while they’ve also been handed a boost with the news that Michael Quinlivan is fit enough to play despite sustaining an ankle injury against Offaly last Sunday.
We are a little concerned by the news that Evan Comerford has left the squad, reputedly due to a dispute over his dual commitments, and upheaval in the goalkeeping position is never a good sign. The 6″4 underage soccer international was a significant factor in their defensive solidity so far and that could come into play tonight.
Nonetheless we’d be slow to believe that Cork should be 1/2 or shorter for this one, as they are with most bookies. The Rebels had a good win over Kerry certainly, but Kerry have declined hugely as a force at underage level and it was only last year that Cork absolutely hammered Kerry in Munster and yet still found that Dublin were too strong once they got out of their province. Not unlike Cavan, the Rebels have a very solid backline and a few very talented players out the field, but David Power has worked wonders with these players already at minor level and he’s well capable of taking it one step further tonight.
Boylesports are even money plus two points, which ties in nicely with our bet on Cavan above.
Double: Cavan (straight) and Tipperary (+2pts) both to win @ 12/5