Tuesday 27 June 2017

The case for Dublin, Kerry and Mayo in the race for Sam

9 April 2017; Tadhg Morley, left, and Adrian Spillane of Kerry following the Allianz Football League Division 1 Final match between Dublin and Kerry at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
9 April 2017; Tadhg Morley, left, and Adrian Spillane of Kerry following the Allianz Football League Division 1 Final match between Dublin and Kerry at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

The Punter's Platform returned for their second episode this week to discuss the Epsom Derby, the Curragh's sandwich selection, and the Athlone betting scandal among other things.

But the panel also looked ahead to the All-Ireland football championship, with opinions quite divided on whether Dublin can retain their title for the fifth time in seven years.

The Dubs are currently installed as 6/4 favourites by Ladbrokes, with Kerry coming in just behind them at 11/4 while Mayo round out the top three at 5/1.

Dublin may be the favourites once again but they were defeated by Kerry in the Division 1 league final last month, with the panel split on whether Jim Gavin's side will be able to retain the Sam Maguire for another year.

"When you look at them at 6/4, if they get to the semi's they're likely to get an Ulster team, so they're a great chance of getting to the final," said Ladbrokes' Declan Marron.

"They're not going to be tested until the quarters. I know that seems very arrogant to say every year but it generally is the case."

The Herald's Niall Cronin said that he'd be backing Kerry to complete the league and cup double this season, while the Irish Independent's Michael Verney said he fancies Mayo at 5/1, but for Cronin, he questions whether this Dublin team still has the hunger to keep adding to the staggering amount of success they've already achieved under Jim Gavin.

"I''d be siding with Kerry. Dublin are the best unit going around at the moment, but the best horses don't always win the race, and I wouldn't say that you question their hunger, but it has to come into it as a factor. How hungry are they to keep going at this professional full-time level?"

The panelists also discussed their picks for the Footballer of the Year award, with 2016 winner Lee Keegan an outside bet at 40/1 last year. Kerry's Paul Geaney is the favourite to scoop this year's award at 8/1, but Verney fancies his Kingdom teammates Paul Murphy and Tadgh Morley as outside considerations.

"I'd like to go with two Kerry boys for the footballer of the year," said Verney.

"The last two years we've had half-backs win, but Paul Murphy I think is one of the best footballers in the country. He's 25/1, and another longshot, Tadgh Morley, is 66/1, and is probably going to be centre-back and probably on the best forward on the other team.

"If he does what he did to Ciaran Kilkenny, to most of those forwards, I think he'll be a good shout."

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