Previews: Derry v Down and Kerry v Waterford
DERRY v DOWN, ULSTER SFC Q-FINAL
(Celtic Pk, Tom 2.0 live RTé2/BBC2 NI)
NOW here's an intriguing conundrum for all those who have loudly broadcast the existence of a supposedly unbridgeable chasm between the top two tiers of the Allianz Football League.
Namely this: what happens when a team that finishes bottom of Division One tackles a team that has just topped Division Two? Where's now does the gap exist, if there is one at all?
We're about to find out. The truth is that, in advance of tomorrow's Bogside battle, you can't make definitive claims for either the team just relegated from the elite (Down) or the top-flighters in waiting from Derry.
If you place your trust in recent form, home advantage and managerial momentum (Brian McIver has so far worked the oracle in his debut season) then it must be Derry.
But in counter-argument, they were operating in the more forgiving environs of Division Two whereas Down have been tested far more stringently this spring.
Seven of the Down team also started the 2010 All-Ireland final, while two more featured as subs – that experience must count for something, especially if you factor in Derry's enigmatic tendencies when transferring league form into summer combat.
For the record, the bookies make Derry marginal favourites but even they're not convinced. Nor are we, but we'll stick with the hosts for a couple of reasons: firstly Down are missing several key men through injury and, secondly, their championship record post-2011 suggests a defensive weakness that Eoin Bradley and James Kielt can punish.
ODDS: Derry 4/5, Draw 7/1, Down 6/4
KERRY TO CRUISE
KERRY v WATERFORD, MUNSTER SFC S-FINAL
(Killarney, Tonight 7.0)
THE seemingly revitalised war veterans from the deep south have already laid waste to one Munster minnow by 17 points. And yet Tipperary are rated a notch or two above Waterford, which makes you wonder could tonight's Fitzgerald Stadium outcome be even more lopsided?
It will boil down to Kerry and whether they have the application to go for the kill over 70 minutes, or in more sporadic bursts. Not even the six-day turnaround will affect the outcome, although it may moderate the final margin. Either way, with Gooch pulling the strings it's likely to be a double-digit affair.
ODDS: Kerry 1/100, Draw 40/1, Waterford 20/1