Donegal v Meath, Sunday, 2 pm, Ballybofey
Donegal and Meath will battle it out in the first game in Group 2 of the Super 8’s on Sunday with both sides looking to get the ball rolling with games against Mayo and Kerry to come. The game throws in at 2 pm on Sunday and is live on RTE.
Home advantage counts for a lot in the Super 8’s so Ulster champions Donegal will be looking a big crowd can spur them on to victory here. Donegal has had a superb season and many people are saying they are probably the only team that can match Dublin at presents, whether that is the case I’m not so sure. Declan Bonner’s charges beat Fermanagh 0-15 to 0-09 in the Ulster quarter-final, followed that up with a good win over Tyrone in the semi-final 1-16 to 0-15 and they beat Cavan in the final 1-24 to 2-16. They have talent all over the field I really like the way Eoghan Ban Gallagher and Ryan McHugh attack from the half-back line. They are superb at doing it. In the forwards, Michael Murphy, Jamie Brennan, and Paddy McBrearty are all in form and if this trio put in big games on Sunday they will be difficult to beat.
Meath have a good season to be fair as not many probably expected them to reach the Super 8’s so they are in bonus territory. Meath beat Offaly 1-13 to 0-14 in the Leinster first round, before going on to beat Carlow 2-18 to 0-09 in the quarter-final, beat Laois 3-13 to 0-11 in the semi-final, before been hammered in the Leinster final by Dublin 1-17 to 0-04. 4 points in 70 minutes of football is very poor by all standards. They had to beat Clare then last weekend in Portlaoise to book their place in the last 8. They won that narrowly 2-16 to 1-18. Conor McGill, Donal Keogan and Padraic Harnan will be key in defence. In attack Michael Newman, James Conlon and Cillian O’Sullivan will need to have big games.
Previous Championship Meetings
The sides meet for only the fourth time in championship football.
2017 Donegal 1-15 Meath 1-14 (All-Ireland Qualifiers)
2002 Donegal 1-13 Meath 0-14 (All-Ireland Qualifiers)
1990 Meath 3-09 Donegal 1-07 (All-Ireland semi-final)
Donegal and Meath meet twice in Division 2 of the league this year, Donegal won on both occasions by 2 points. One of those games was the Division 2 final which ended Donegal 1-17 Meath 1-15. Jamie Brennan is Donegal’s top scorer with 2-11 all coming from play, he is followed by Paddy McBrearty 0-13 (0-04f) and Michael Murphy 0-11 (0-04f, 1 45). Michael Newman is Meath’s top scorer with 3-20 (0-13f, 1-00 pen), Bryan Menton is next with 3-05 all from play.
Donegal are 1/8 to win this game, while Meath are 6/1 and the draw is priced at 14/1. I think Donegal will have too much for Meath here especially with extra weeks they have had off, fatigue may come into it for Meath as it was a difficult and physical game against Clare last weekend. On that basis, Donegal -7 at evens looks a good bet.