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Backing against bookies folly as favourites seldom slip

THE road continues to narrow and with only six counties still driving the end of the 2014 journey is now in sight.

Attempting to select winners each week from May onwards is not as easy as many believe and this year I decided to keep a log.

Each Friday I join Des Cahill on his morning radio slot and have a go at picking the winning combinations for the weekend games. To date I have failed to click a winning accumulator that contains more than four teams.

Looking at the predictions on an individual game basis, I hit 78 per cent success rate but of course the problem arises when you put them into doubles, trebles and accumulators.

One eternal truth the pundit should have realised by now is that once you reach Round 4 and the quarter-finals each year, the favourites nearly always win.

Their strike rate is close to 100pc and looking at the Saturday and Sunday games last week confirms this once again.

Monaghan and Armagh got the weekend off to the perfect start for the fancied teams and both Kerry and Mayo did not disappoint on Sunday. It's the cold reality of the business end of championships that the underdog rarely gets to take a big enough bite out of the leg of the favourite and so fails to fell them.

Monaghan were decent and though Kildare were once again immensely brave, defeat was their lot in another high profile Croke Park encounter where they could point to hard luck and perhaps a controversial refereeing decision.

Whatever about hard luck, the ref had little to do with the defeat as Monaghan showed bravery beyond the call of duty to get back into the game after half-time, equalise with the last play of normal time and still last the pace in extra-time to win in horrible conditions. But the effort needed to beat Kildare is likely to cost them dearly on Saturday against the unbackable Dubs.

Armagh? Again, decent, brave, organised, serious work ethic - enough to make them very competitive but it won't be enough to topple Donegal. It is likely to be one of the most tactical games played in in years and the defensive mindsets of both will be intriguing. But my advice is to stick with the favourites Donegal if you want to beat the bookie.