Sport Gaelic Football

Saturday 25 March 2017

Dubs to shoot down rebels

THE last time I went to an NFL final involving Dublin, the Railway End crowd still used to filter down Jones's Road and through the lane that leads out to the back of Hill 16.

Halfway down that lane, there was a bloke with a ladder and for just one old pound he let us ticketless chancers climb up the back wall and over the barbed wire, allowing us to immerse ourselves into the sea of blue.

I may sound like some oul' lad talking about Dublin in the rare old times, but this was only in 1999, and it was a disappointing day as we were beaten by Cork by two points.

As my six-year-old daughter excitedly lays her jersey out on the bed preparing for her first ever match (while I order the tickets online), I can't help but be amazed at how times have changed in a little over a decade.

Hopefully, she won't have to wait as long as me to see some silverware. A barman friend of mine who cannot be named for legal reasons (he serves me drink after-hours), has helped me go through the form of both teams and we've agreed that a simple Dublin win is the bet of the day, priced around 11/10.

This guy knows his GAA and has a good betting record in the football so I'm happy that we've reached the same conclusion.

QUESTION

The Dublin team is starting to have a championship feel about it. The only question that really presents itself is why Barry Cahill was played at midfield all year, only to return to half-back for this game.

I always believed this was his best position, although you can't take away our results with Cahill in the middle of the field during the unbeaten league run.

Elsewhere, Paul Brogan has proved ample cover at full-back and deserves his place ahead of Sean Murray, who had his best game of the league at midfield.

The full-back slot is still up for grabs for the championship and tomorrow will be a real test for the youngest of the Brogan brothers, with this being the strongest full-forward line he's faced in his inter-county career.

The two previous meetings were close calls and this will be the same. Cork possess two of the best free-takers in the game in Daniel Goulding and Donncha O'Connor and they will take every opportunity handed to them.

But on the other hand, the Rebels will need to stop the Dublin goal-threat that has been a vital weapon in their climb to the top of Division 1 this season.

As they know only too well from last year's All-Ireland semi-final, Dublin will have to control their robust style of tackling from the half-backs.

Dublin should win, but I can't see much more than a green flag in it.

In the racing, Baby Run will go off as favourite in the The Whitbread Chase, or the Sandown Bet 365 Gold Cup as it is known today (3.10). It's his first open handicap since 2006 and he has a great chance at these weights; but I just can't accept 9/2 in a contest that is usually won by a horse priced in double figures so I'm looking elsewhere for value.

Triggerman, trained by Philip Hobbs, may fit the bill. He won at the April meeting at Cheltenham but crucially, he doesn't get penalised for that so 10st 8lbs seems light. His trainer knows the type of horse it takes to win this race, landing the spoils with Monkerhostin and Lacdoudal in 2008 and 2006 respectively and early odds of 12/1 have already been taken by this punter.

EACH-WAY OUTSIDER

Evan Williams' Dantari should be shorter than 12/1 for the bet365 Handicap Hurdle (2.05 Sandown). The 3m trip at Cheltenham last time didn't suit, but he's a reliable enough sort otherwise and a prominent ride from Paul Moloney should see him make the placings.

TODAY'S SELECTIONS

2.05 Sandown: Dantari (e/w)

2.10 Carlisle: Indian Groom

3.10 Sandown: Triggerman

3.30 Haydock: Matuhi

5.35 Carlisle: Ardnaclancy

Irish Independent

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