Betting advice for All-Ireland champions, Dublin who play Carlow in O’Moore park, Portlaoise at 7:00 Saturday.
After their shock win over Wexford we look at their strengths as the face the mammoth task of facing Dublin and what are their realistic chances.
It’s been a decent few weeks for Carlow football. They had a strong ending to their division four campaign and then defeated Wexford in the first round of the Leinster Championship, their first since 2011. Many considered it an upset victory but Carlow do have quality players who would make it onto may panels across the country. Brendan Murphy is one of the best midfielders in the game. He has experience playing in the international rules series and has been a stalwart in the Carlow side for a few season’s now and at 28 he is coming into his prime years.
He bossed the midfield against Wexford with his physicality and runs from midfield, scoring a late goal to secure victory and finishing the day with a personal total of 1-02. In an interview with RTE (https://www.rte.ie/sport/gaa/2017/0521/876895-bren/) Murphy states how important it is for Carlow to be playing a side with the stature of Dublin. “We’re playing Dublin and we’re going to enjoy it. We are one of the weaker counties in the country but we are working hard to try and climb up the rankings. The quality might not be there in certain areas but that doesn’t mean we don’t love it. We eat, sleep and drink football and we are trying to improve it. We don’t get exposure like this to happen. We are going to enjoy the live game on telly and enjoy playing a team who are the best in the business. Above all we hope we will learn something from it and bring it to help Carlow football going forward.”
It is indeed true that this is a rare opportunity to promote football in Carlow. Turlough O’Brien, the Carlow Bainisteoir, was contacted a few hours before the Sunday game to come on and talk about Carlow’s victory, where he praised the work ethic of his team after a few bad years for the Barrow men. O’Brien has been building this panel for three years now and claims that he has a full pick of the county which was not always been the case. O’Brien side against Wexford made it difficult for the Slaneysiders by packing the defence and not allowing room for any Wexford forward and expect it to be more of the same against the champions.
Dublin will be well used to this of course and against teams of a higher quality. The narrow defeat to Kerry in the Division one league final would have stung but the main objective is of course the three in a row and that objective starts on Saturday which in reality should be a facile victory for the Dubs. Bookmakers, Boylesports, are offering even odds on Dublin -20 in the handicap. This is a clear indicator of the gulf in class between the two sides. Dublin reached the Division 1 final while Carlow failed to gain promotion from division four. As mentioned before, Carlow do have good qualities and players such as Murphy and Paul Broderick are quality players. Dublin have quality players from 1-25 on the team sheet which sets them apart from the majority of teams in the country. Kevin McManamon, Paul Mannion, Michael Darragh Macauley, and David Byrne were all intruded as substitutes in the league final and will be battling it out for a starting 15 spot. If they were born in Carlow they would be guaranteed starters and perhaps push Carlow into the top four teams in Leinster such is the individual quality.
However, Dublin can afford to leave these players on the subs bench and up until the Kerry defeat remain unbeaten for 35 games in league and championship. It is inevitable that Dublin will win on Saturday and win convincingly. The debate on the two-tier championship will, of course, be brought up again once the final whistle is blown. The two sides are this. Is it not beneficial for Carlow to promote football in the county by playing a high-profile game in front of the Sky cameras which may bring non-GAA fans from Carlow to come support their county.
The counter argument made is that any confidence that Carlow gained from the Wexford victory will be taken away if/when Carlow receive a hammering and what inspiration for a young Carlow boy or girl to play for their county when they see their side receive a heavy beating. Hopefully, Carlow can put up a decent performance and lose with their heads held high and can kick on in the qualifiers. They do deserve huge credit for the work they have put in but if Dublin turn up wanting to make a statement after their league final, it is hard to see Dublin not winning by the handicap.
Advice – Back Dublin -19 at 10/11 with various bookmakers