Gaelic Sports – Countdown Begins

Leopardstown Christmas Festival Lexus DayAnd then there were four, writes our GAA blogger Ciarán McGowan.

Picture shows Donegal’s Rory Kavanagh and Frank McGlynn tackle Aidan O’Shea of Mayo ©INPHO/James Crombie

This weekend’s action decided final four places in All Ireland Football championship with wins for Tyrone, Dublin, Kerry and Mayo.

Tyrone scraped past a resilient Monaghan with another man of match performance from Sean Cavanagh. Tyrone now have a few weeks to prepare for a semi-final clash with new favourites Mayo. Mayo comprehensively beat champions Donegal by a 16 point margin with Aidan O’Shea delivering finest midfield performance of summer.

The game of weekend featured Dublin and Cork with Dubs emerging victorious despite squandering numerous goal chances. They will face Kerry in other semi-final clash scheduled for September 1st. Kerry put in a less than convincing performance to overcome a spirited Cavan team but I expect we will see a different Kerry when they take on their arch rivals Dublin.

There is only one game to talk about next weekend and that’s Hurling semi-final between Dublin and Cork.  This is a young Cork team that have improved with every game and under stewardship of Jimmy Barry Murphy will not be daunted by occasion. Dublin on other hand may feel pressure is somewhat off them as it’s no surprise to see Cork in a hurling semi-final and their supporters’ expectations will be high. Dublin haven’t reached a hurling final since 1961 and haven’t won hurling championship since 1938!

Also, Dublin won’t have played for five weeks and bear in mind their last game against Galway was their fifth game in as many weeks. The exam question for Dublin is whether break will be beneficial or detrimental. Both Cork and Dublin have beaten champions Kilkenny so there’s little to separate them on form –bookies can’t separate them either, laying both teams at even money and 9/1 draw (perhaps draw is value bet?).

Ok so it’s time to nail my colours; I’m going for a Dublin win. I don’t have much rationale other than level of performance that Dublin has achieved this year has been exceptional and if they can recreate that, they can progress to final on 8th September. It will be very close, but Dublin just to edge it.

GAA fixtures this weekend – GAA Hurling Semi-Final

Sunday 11th August

Dublin v Cork (15:30 GMT)

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