Dublin To Give Longford Reality Check
Longford, admirably, will shape up at Croke Park for their Leinster Senior Football Championship quarter-final against Dublin with the best of intentions and with aspirations of producing what would be an earth-shattering shock.
The reality of the task they face, however, could prove to be earth-shattering in itself.
To put their challenge into context, BoyleSports’ odds-compilers are pitching Dublin at 1-10 to retain the provincial title and at 11-8 to leave headquarters next September with Sam Maguire.
Longford are 150-1 and 500-1 respectively in both of those aforementioned markets.
Additionally, the main handicap betting bar has been set at 16 points with Jim Gavin’s outfit 10-11 to surpass that deficit and Jack Sheedy’s men 11-10 to stay within that margin.
And the scary thing about that stance taken by BoyleSports is that who could argue with their thought-process?
Dublin are capable of annihilating Longford.
At the end of the day Gavin’s side possess such strength in depth that their second string would also probably beat their Leinster counterparts.
The question is, how motivated will Dublin be to scold their rivals?
After all, and with respect to Longford, they have much bigger fish to fry in the months ahead.
Word is Longford could try and emulate the tactics employed by Derry when the Oak Leafers held Dublin to 0-8 in the National Football League Division 1 tie earlier in the season.
Such an approach is understandable, to a point.
Yet, that also represents somewhat of a double-edged sword because Derry only managed to register 0-4 themselves in that contest.
Much of the problem for Sheedy – as is the case with the vast majority of managers of inferior opponents set to clash with Dublin – is they never really know whether to stick or twist.
On one hand, if Longford were to attack Dublin with Kilmacud Crokes’ Brian Kavanagh as the fulcrum of their offensive unit, the likes of Jack McCaffrey will profit on the counter-attack and the Metropolitans will swarm all over their opponents.
And yet, if, as is likely apparently, Longford attempt to soak up pressure from Dublin and try to counter-punch them you would still have to believe Gavin’s charges, with Paul Flynn, Ciarán Kilkenny and Diarmuid Connolly roaming menacingly, will still have too much attacking nous and experience for Sheedy’s team to withstand.
However, trusting Dublin to prevail by at least 17 points is risky business.
BoyleSports have set their total number of points for Dublin at 28.5 but it may pay to take the 4/5 on offer that Gavin’s side score less than that tally.
In truth, Dublin might not be operating at full throttle and anticipating that the overwhelming favourites advance but without surpassing that total of 28.5 points should yield a dividend.
In addition, Stephen Cluxton’s place-kicking could be a crucial element in a Dublin victory once again and throwing a few sheckles on him to be named RTÉ Man of the Match at huge odds could be worth the outlay.
*Prices correct at time of publication