Monday 23 April 2018

Dublin to shade it and party like it's '95

PRINCE Rogers Nelson once sang that he was going to "party like it's 1999," but for the Dublin fans, as Eamon Carr wrote recently, it will be a case of partying like it's 1995 should the senior team lift the Sam Maguire tomorrow.

I was a fresh-faced 15-year-old back then when John O'Leary walked up the steps of the old Hogan Stand and declared that: "1983 seems like only yesterday".

Indeed, 1995 doesn't seem so long ago now that we are back in the final, although at 7/4, the bookmakers only give us Dubs a 36pc chance of winning.

Back then, my girlfriend at the time was grounded because we'd gone on the hop from school the day before. But my old man, God rest him, gave me an amnesty and brought me out to watch the action. I'm twice as old now, but the sense of excitement in the capital is similar and it certainly takes me back to when Jason Sherlock overtook Manchester United's Lee Sharpe and Ryan Giggs as the teenagers' favourite pin-up.

These days it's all about Bernard Brogan and The Gooch, and the battle for points by those two for their respective teams will be crucial in order to get the early upper hand.


The question, of course, is whether Dublin will once again collapse under pressure. Both the 2007 semi-final loss and the 2009 quarter-final disaster are still fresh in the memory and Kerry will feel that they can do again what they've done before.

That said, the Dublin set-up has radically changed since then, especially at the back.

The odds of a Dublin win have drifted in the past couple of weeks, although a bookmaker friend of mine tells me that it's not all due to big single bets being placed on the Kingdom.

His particular firm has a reasonable-sized liability on the ever-popular Kilkenny/Kerry double bet, so they are trying to attract some backers to the Dublin side of the book by increasing the odds from 6/4 to 7/4.

Kerry have the experience, which is a massive advantage, but I've a feeling that this could be like 1978 in reverse, although certainly not as high-scoring. Dublin had won back-to-back titles in '76 and '77.

But the younger, hungrier, Kerry team thrashed Dublin and went on to win four in-a-row.

While it certainly won't be a thrashing, I reckon Dublin have the hunger and look a little overpriced, although I will admit it's hard not to let the heart rule the head here.

Pat Gilroy is not letting history bother the lads and they are keeping it low-key. They are quite simply sick of being the team that is always on the brink of success and are desperate to get the monkey off their back tomorrow.

If the boys in blue do win, it will be by a small margin so the vote, albeit tentative, goes to Dublin to win by 1-6pts at 15/8.

In the racing, the best bet of the day could be Caspar Netscher at 7/4 in the Mill Reef Stakes (2.30 Newbury).

While he's penalised for the Gimcrack Stakes, he's had a cracking season so far, making his mark in a number of Listed/Group races.

Kieren Fallon will take the place of the suspended Robert Winston and Nottingham handler Alan McCabe reckons the colt is one of his strongest runners over the weekend.


THE Ayr Gold Cup (3.20) is a tricky one to call, but a chance is taken on Son Of The Cat, priced around 20/1. The five-year-old has come on a lot this year and landed a big-field handicap at Goodwood back in July. He's improving all the time and the handicapper may still have some catching up to do.

•Last week's each-way outsider, Ancient Cross, placed at 20/1.


2.30 Newbury: Caspar Netscher

3.20 Ayr: Son Of The Cat (e/w)

4.30 Ayr: Poet

Irish Independent

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