Monday 23 October 2017

Hope thrives against odds

There are six games in the GAA football championship today, plus one in the hurling championship. We might like to pretend that this represents a day to look forward to, with seven contests to whet the appetite of fans and a must-see highlights programme later tonight.

Bookmakers, however, don't deal in fantasy, they deal in the real world. And in their real world, there are no contests today. In fact, in each of today's seven games, there is an odds-on favourite. And the favourites are so strongly fancied that if you placed an accumulator on all of them to win it would pay a measly 5/2. Laois, who play Longford, look the most vulnerable and at 2/5 are the best-priced of the seven. An accumulator on seven of today's Premier League games, randomly chosen, offered odds of over 90/1.

On the same Sunday last year, there were five championship games and all five favourites won. This is the sad reality about the championship. The amazing thing, though, is that people will still flock to Portlaoise, Sligo, Killarney, Cork, Derry and Carlow with hope that today is the day. And maybe, just maybe . . .

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