Round 4 of the football qualifiers takes place this weekend with some very interesting ties as the last 4 remaining places in the Super 8s look to be filled come Sunday afternoon.
After giving our customers (Bruce Betting) a very tasty 10/1 enhanced winner in round 3 of the qualifiers last weekend, I hope to follow that up with the enhanced price of 7/1 for Meath, Galway, Cork and Tyrone to all be victorious in their respective games.
Andy McEntee’s Meath team will have more than just a strong Clare team to contend with at 2pm on Sunday, as history will also be against the Royals, with teams from Leinster not faring too well in round 4 following heavy defeats to Dublin in Leinster finals in the last few years.
The two teams come into the tie off the back of contrasting performances in a game that is still difficult to call.
Meath will have done plenty of soul searching after notching just four points in a Leinster final pummelling at the hands of Dublin, but manager Andy McEntee will be adamant that they can recover from that loss and join the final eight.
Clare are worthy adversaries however, the Banner men were narrowly beaten by Kerry in a Munster semi-final and have enjoyed wins over Leitrim and Westmeath in the backdoor to make the final twelve, however I am going for the Royals to recover, find their shooting boots and prolong their season into late July,early August.
Next up is the battle of the west (in Limerick). The GAA have placed the Galway v Mayo Round 4 qualifier in Limerick as they deemed that no other venue in Connacht could hold the expected attendance the game will attract. The GAA offered the teams a coin toss for home advantage but sides refused. So, this is where we are now and a massive game to decide who goes to the Super 8’s will take place in Limerick. I am going with Galway to bounce back from their disappointing provincial final loss to Roscommon. Kevin Walsh’s Tribesmen have won the last three battles between the sides in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Mayo have been very unlucky with injuries so far in 2019 and with the news that Lee Keegan and Aidan O’Shea are likely to miss out, I think the ball is now certainly in Galway’s court.
For Galway to progress, they will need massive performances from Fiontan O’Curraoin Shane Walsh, Ian Burke and Michael Daly. And if their talisman for the past few seasons Damien Comer makes his return from injury, as rumours suggest he will, then this will be a major boost for the men in maroon.
For the 3rd selection a row, I am going with a beaten provincial finalist, in this case Cork. Despite been very disappointing earlier on in the year enroute to relegation to division 3 of the league, their demolition of of Limerick in the Munster championship and their decent performance in a narrow Munster final loss to rivals Kerry, gives them high hopes of reaching the Super 8s at Laois expense. In Brian Hurley, Mark Collins and Ruairi Deane the Rebels have the firepower to find the net at ease, remember they have scored 6 in their last 2 games.
In contrast Laois have had a fine 2019 to date, replacing this weekend’s opponents in division 2 of the league for 2020. John Sugrue’s men come into the game on the back of four championship games. They beat Westmeath 0-12 to 0-10 in the Leinster quarter-final, before losing out to Meath in the semi-final 3-13 to 0-11. John Sugrue’s men have turned things around since then though with a 1-13 to 0-12 win over Derry and then last weekend a 0-20 to 0-15 win over Offaly. They will surely fancy their chance of winning this one as well. In defence, Denis Booth, Stephen Attride and Robert Piggott will need to have big games. In attack, much of the scoring will likely be done by Paul and Donie Kingston who kicked 0-10 between them in the win over Offaly, Colm Murphy could also have a big say on proceedings.
I tipped Laois up to overcome Offaly last weekend but I feel their fine season will come to an end at the hands of Cork on Saturday evening in Thurles. This is the first meeting of the sides in championship football and Cork will reach the quarter-final for the first time since 2014 come the end of play.
Last up is the meeting of the two Ulster sides Cavan and Tyrone in Clones on Saturday evening. Cavan exceeded all expectations in reaching their first Ulster final for a number of years, where they fell short against an impressive Donegal. Mickey Graham’s side are the one provincial final losers that I don’t think will recover as I fancy Tyrone a resurgent Tyrone, arguably back playing some of their best football, to catch the Ulster finalists cold, with the Red Hand men knowing that a place in the final eight with Dublin and Roscommon looming will be their reward.
Mickey Harte’s men were dumped out of the province by eventual winners Donegal last month, but are back on track after a labouring victory over Longford and a more finely-tuned display over Kildare last weekend.
But Cavan have been one of the surprise packages of the summer, dispatching of favourites Monaghan in the provincial quarter-final and eventually getting the better of Armagh in a replay before losing to Donegal themselves in the decider.
In Cathal McShane and Peter Harte, Tyrone have two of the most in form players in the country at the moment and I feel their firepower will send them on their way to Dr.Hyde Park the following week and a meeting with Roscommon in their opening Super 8s tie.
Meath, Galway, Cork and Tyrone all to win are priced at 11/2 but we are enhancing that to 7/1 for our in shop (Bruce Betting) customers.