GAA SFC Predictions & Betting Tips From Diarmuid Connolly | Sunday 24th April
GAA Football ambassador Diarmuid Connolly gives his predictions, betting tips and expert opinion ahead of the weekend SFC action.
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Dublin All-Ireland winner Diarmuid Connolly believes Mayo manager James Horan could regret not bringing Cillian O’Connor back into the starting line-up for this weekend’s Connacht quarter-final clash with Galway. Check out the video here.
🗣️ "If he doesn’t start & Mayo lose, I think James Horan will come under a lot of pressure."
💬 @dermoc123 previews Mayo v Galway in Connacht SFC quarter-final action on Sunday.
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O’Connor made his competitive comeback in a brief cameo in the National League final defeat to Kerry, but questions remain as to whether Horan will continue to manage his return from a lengthy injury lay-off by starting him on the bench.
“Mayo put in a poor performance in the final against Kerry, but apart from that I thought they performed well in the league,” Connolly told BoyleSports.
“They will learn a lot from the Kerry defeat and they were still missing a lot of players. Cillian O’Connor only came on for 20 minutes and I think he should start against Galway. If he doesn’t and Mayo lose, I think James Horan will come under a lot of pressure.
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“I know Ryan O’Donoghue has been taking their frees during the league, but O’Connor is their talisman and he’s the man to come in and take that mantle
Connolly also backed Mayo for a third consecutive Connacht title, but says they will benefit more when first choice goalkeeper Ron Hennelly returns from injury.
“I don’t think the Galway defence has the full measure of this Mayo forward line and the win should propel them to the Connacht title. But a big plus for Mayo would be getting Rob Hennelly back in goal. He got man of the match a couple of times early in the league and they were missing him in the final. His kickouts have been good and if he returns I believe they can get a good foothold in their games.”
🏟 "It's never an easy place to go, the fans are like a sixteenth man in Championship games!"
💬 @dermoc123 previews Donegal v Armagh in Ulster SFC quarter-final action on Sunday, 2pm.
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He said: “Armagh had a great start to the league, but they really need to perform in the Championship. Kieran McGeeney has been with them for eight or so years and they have only won one Championship game in that spell of time which is crazy to think. They have progressed and they have built a really good squad.”
“I know they are going to be missing a few personnel now with suspension, but Rian O’Neill looks like he will be back and ready to start this game which is a huge plus for this Armagh side.”
“Similar to Armagh, Donegal have had a stop-start league and finished on seven points. They retained their Division One status, but they didn’t really threaten at all. The big performance for me in the league was the turnaround they had against Tyrone in the second half and that really cemented this Donegal side.”
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“If they had lost that game, they would have been facing relegation probably, but they turned it around that day and got the wind in the second half and I was impressed with that.”
“Will Michael Murphy start in the middle of the field or at the top d I’m not sure but if he stays inside the likes of Paddy McBrearty then I think Donegal will come out on top but it will be very close.”
“The likes of Stefan Campbell rolling off the bench in the league and kicking points consistently for this Armagh side. Ballybofey is never an easy place to go and it’s like a 16-man team with Donegal fans so it will be difficult for Armagh to get a foothold in this game, and they are going to need everybody to put their shoulder to the wheel.
“The guys coming off the bench are making a serious impact and they are going to need all of that to beat Donegal.”
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“Patrick McBrearty was impressive in the league so he could be the first goalscorer for Donegal at 8/1 and he is looking sharp again. Rian O’Neill has been the talisman for Armagh and is 7/1 to score the first goal. He has been consistent during the league and knows how to score goals.”
“I think Donegal will win by a couple of points and I think Ryan McHugh will have a huge influence so he is my pick at 10/1 for Man of the Match.”
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More about the author:
Diarmuid Connolly is a six time GAA All-Ireland Football winner with Dublin. During his illustrious career he also won two All-Star awards. He retired from inter-county football in October 2020.
The 6′ 1″ forward still plays for club team, St Vincent’s, with whom he won five Dublin Senior Football Championship titles.
Connolly also won ten Leinster Senior Football Championships with St. Vincent’s as well as four National Football League titles.
He also joined the Dublin hurling panel as a dual player where he won an U21 Leinster medal.