GAA All Ireland SFC: The Kingdom still the value bet for the Sam Maguire

Kerry look to be the value bet for the Sam Maguire Cup
Kerry look to be the value bet for the Sam Maguire Cup
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With seven teams left standing in the football Championship, Kieran O'Connor recommends a pair of value bets in the quest for All Ireland glory...

"Their full forward line of Donaghy, Geaney & O Donaghue is a joy to behold when firing on all cylinders and Johnny Buckley is making a big mark at centre forward"

The football Championship has entered its knock-out stage and while seven teams remain in the competition, only three appear to have a realistic chance of winning. We rank the contenders for All Ireland glory.

Dublin - 11/10

The current favourites for the Championship and it is easy to see why. The Dubs are going for their third All-Ireland title in a row and fifth in seven seasons this year. They have already secured a seventh Leinster title in a row, a new record.

The manner in which they have dispensed of Carlow, Westmeath & Kildare will have sent a huge statement out to all other teams, Dublin are ready to defend their crown. Jim Gavin has managed to bring in some fresh faces this year and with Paul Flynn, Michael Darragh Macauley, Jonny Cooper and the infamous Diarmuid Connolly all returning to the fold soon.

However Dublin are approaching odds on for the title which doesn't represent a great deal of value in the market considering their potential path to glory will likely go through Monaghan, Tyrone & Kerry.

Kerry - 2/1

Already into the semi-finals after beating Galway last weekend, Kerry will know that the performance put in against the Tribesmen was not good enough. The current league Champions barely got out of second gear, scoring only eight points in the second half.

Taking that performance out of the equation, Kerry have been slowly growing in confidence. They were excellent against Cork in the Munster final, winning with eleven points to spare and find themselves now facing a clash with either Mayo or Roscommon, neither of which look strong enough to beat them.

Their full forward line of Donaghy, Geaney & O Donaghue is a joy to behold when firing on all cylinders and Johnny Buckley is making a big mark at centre forward. Their goal has always been to line out on All Ireland Final day, preferably against Dublin and they look almost certain to get their chance. At 2/1 they are still the value bet for the title.

Tyrone - 5/1

Victories against Derry, Donegal and Down saw Tyrone retain the Anglo-Celt Cup, but it's the manner of these performances that have made pundits stand up and really take notice of the Ulster Champions.

This is nothing like the defensive football of the past, Tyrone averaged 23 points a game in the Ulster Championship with 17 different players getting on the score-sheet. Outside of the big two, they look the most likely to take a run at September glory and the prospect of a Dublin v Tyrone semi-final is something all GAA fans are looking forward to. For that to happen they must perform this weekend. Dark Horses for Sam Maguire? Absolutely.

Mayo - 8/1

So much has been written about Mayo over this season it is hard to know where to begin. Knocked out of Connacht by Galway (who went on to lose to Roscommon), Mayo went once again went through to the qualifiers.

Twice this season they have had to go to extra time and will face Roscommon in a replay on Bank Holiday Monday in a bid to get back into the semi-finals. Mayo were playing in their seventh successive quarter-final and there is just a feeling that the time for this team has been and gone.

They look at times out on their feet and without the likes of Andy Moran, Cillian O Connor & the mercurial Aidan O Shea, they would have been on their holidays weeks ago. The All Ireland looks beyond them this year and in truth, Roscommon are value to knock them out this weekend.

Monaghan - 40/1

Knocked out by Down in the Ulster SFC, Monaghan have been a Jekyll and Hyde team ever since. An 18 point victory over Wexford was followed up by a poor performance against Carlow.

They avenged their defeat to Down at the weekend but even that came with some scares as Down waltzed straight through the heart of their defence on numerous occasions. In Conor McManus, Monaghan have one of the best forwards in the country.

Bar the Wexford game, they have failed to really click as an attacking unit. Monaghan have lost all four previous quarter-final appearances, I see no reason to assume they can win this one.

Roscommon - 50/1

Kevin McStay's side have had a fantastic summer having won the Connacht title already but their year is by no means over. In the twelfth minute of the Mayo game the score was 2-02 - 0-01 and Mayo looked out of it. Roscommon failed to score for the next 20 minutes and somehow managed to go in at half time at two points down.

They were level within a minute of the restart. It's hard to draw a conclusion about who was happier to have a second go at each other in the Mayo game but the miles on the clock must surely start to hinder the Mayo squad. They won't win the All Ireland but Roscommon could easily find themselves in the semi-final against Kerry.

Armagh - 100/1

Having missed out on promotion to Division 2 of the National Football League Armagh were then dumped out of the Ulster Championship by Down. A team they had not lost to in 25 years.

Their season renaissance began by beating Fermanagh in the Athletic grounds but really took flight in Mullingar when level in injury time Westmeath were wasteful in front of goal and Armagh broke and scored a crucial goal. From there they have beaten Tipperary at Semple Staduim and were most impressive against Kildare.

Their Championship should end this weekend with Tyrone proving too strong but their performances have put them in a strong position for next year.

Recommended bets

Back Kerry to win - 2/1
Back Tyrone to win - 5/1

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