Saturday 16 December 2017

The Punter's Platform: The bet of the weekend is lurking in Leinster... the bet of the season could be in Ulster

Liam Connerton of Longford (left) and Conor McManus of Monaghan (right).
Liam Connerton of Longford (left) and Conor McManus of Monaghan (right).

Conor Neville

The 2017 championship may have officially started a fortnight ago in the Bronx but in reality it only properly clicks into gear this weekend.

And we're treated to an unusually meaty opening weekend schedule. In past years, armchair viewers have had to satisfy themselves with a cagey clash in Ulster or a turkey shoot in Leinster. This weekend, we've a Grade A hurling encounter in Munster, while Mayo and Donegal are also in action in the football championship.

The Punter's Platform diligently pondered the outcome of each and every game and, as ever, a couple of super bets stand out.

The Sunday World's John Brennan is adamant that a Longford victory in O'Moore Park against Division 4 bound Laois is the bet of the weekend at 15/8.

"I have to say Longford at 15/8 is the GAA bet of the weekend for me, without a doubt."

Michael Verney is thinking along the same lines and reckons home advantage will be of minimal benefit to Laois given their currently apathetic fanbase.

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"If Longford can stop Donie Kingston in any way at all, or limit him to 0-2 or even 1-1, they've an outstanding chance. There's two bets I like in it, Longford to win the game and there's a close call, which is a draw or either team to win by less than four, that's short-ish at 8/15 but I couldn't see either team winning by more than four... Previous Laois managers have said that support for home games has been quite poor. If anything there could be as many Longford people there."

However, Niall Cronin of The Herald offered the most intriguing bet at the outset of the provincial championships.

He breezily asserted - over the objections of Galway's Johnny Ward - that if one assumes that the Mayo footballers, the Tipp hurlers and the Kerry footballers win their respective provincial championships, then if the Monaghan footballers win the Anglo Celt Cup, those who back the four in an accumulator are looking at 30/1 odds.

Considering that Monaghan are set to avoid both Donegal and Tyrone until at least the Ulster Final, this tip is surely worth a look.

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