Monday 21 August 2017

Lilies' dilemma over Royal duties

Galway manager Kevin Walsh. Photo: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile
Galway manager Kevin Walsh. Photo: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Anything strike you as strange about the odds for the Galway-Kildare Division 2 football clash in Pearse Stadium next Sunday?

Despite being a point ahead of Galway at the top of the table, Kildare are 7/2, with the home side at 1/4. The Lilywhites are already guaranteed promotion while Galway need a draw or a win to make sure they take the second promotion slot ahead of Meath.

If Galway lose and Meath beat Clare, they will have the same number of points as Kevin Walsh's men and would be promoted on the head-to-head result between the counties.

Effectively, Meath's promotion prospects are reliant on Kildare fielding their best team and working as hard as possible in an effort to win. Only time will tell if that turns out to be the case, but the bookmakers clearly think it won't.

Perhaps, that's insulting to Kildare but the bookies are probably basing it on past experiences with other counties.

Last Sunday, Wexford, who were guaranteed promotion from Division 4, fielded an understrength side against Westmeath and lost by 24 points. Technically, Carlow were still in the promotion hunt but had their ambitions scuppered by Wexford's actions.

Counties can argue that they are entitled to field whatever team they wish but surely the integrity of a competition is important too.

That's one of the reasons I have reservations over the 'Super 8' in the football championship.

It's possible to have a scenario where, in the last round, one team had nothing to play for; in which case it's difficult to see them putting in much of an effort. That would be a disaster for the championship, especially since the 'Super 8' games decide the All-Ireland semi-finalists.

Irish Independent

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