Pete’s Picks – Saturday’s Live All-Ireland SFC

Initially, there was a temptation to tip Monaghan to progress to meet Kerry in the All-Ireland SFC semi-final by three points or greater against Tyrone at 7/4 with BoyleSports, industry-high odds.

Monaghan v Tyrone, Football, Sky Sports 5, 4pm
However, taking a slightly more conservative approach and backing Malachy O’Rourke’s men simply at 4/5 to win the match is a shrewder call. That is not to say there are fancied any less.

Yet, the Farney Army tend to grind out victories rather than pulverise the opposition. In defeating Cavan in the provincial quarter-final, Monaghan had just one point to spare prevailing 0-16 to 0-15. O’Rourke’s side followed that up with a 10-point success over plucky Fermanagh but again won the Ulster final by a solitary point, 0-11 to 0-10 against Donegal.

Furthermore, Monaghan were involved in three league games whereby a single score separated the teams so are clearly not to be regarded as a unit that cut loose.

In saying that, it should be noted O’Rourke’s charges recorded a resounding 1-13 to 0-9 triumph against Mickey Harte’s side last January 31st in the secondary competition in Omagh.

Monaghan are 4/5 to win the match with Tyrone 6/4 and the draw 7/1. Seán Cavanagh was named Sky Sports Man of the Match last Saturday as Harte’s brigade overcame Sligo at headquarters. Yet, Darren McCurry was arguably more influential and Monaghan will need to be mindful of his presence. However, Ciaran McManus and co can advance.

Pete’s Picks:
Monaghan @ 4/5

Mayo v Donegal, Football, Sky Sports 5, 6pm
Rory Gallagher and Donegal will have been working on a gameplan to negate Aidan O’Shea in the last few days as the northerners tackle Mayo for a spot in the last four of the All-Ireland series.

O’Shea has been in exemplary form and, stationed at full-forward, is being utilised most effectively by the Connacht champions. Yet, it may be that O’Shea’s outrageous efforts are supplemented, and potentially surpassed on this occasion, by the likes of midfielder Tom Parsons who is recapturing some of his best form of late.

For the likes of O’Shea to thrive, Parsons and Aidan’s brother Seamus will need to produce outstanding performances in the middle-third.

Parsons is 22/1 to collect the Sky Sports Man of the Match award and it is likely he is on the verge of a display worthy of consideration of such an accolade at the very least.

Donegal routed Galway in the end last Saturday and are a best-available 8/5 with BoyleSports to dump Mayo out of the Championship in regulation-time. However, at a critical point in that aforementioned clash with the Tribesmen, Paul Conroy missed a golden free opportunity to push Galway two points ahead in the second half.

Donegal, almost immediately, registered key scores to facilitate their substantial would-be winning margin. Therefore, it was a vital moment in the tightest of contests and even though Gallagher’s side fully deserved to progress thereafter, I just wonder what way events would have transpired if Conroy had nailed that particular free.

Donegal were beginning to feel the pinch at that point but did recover exceptionally well, it must be said. Still, I expect Mayo to produce another season-defining performance.

Pete’s Picks:
Mayo -2 @ 7/5
Tom Parsons Sky Sports Man of the Match @ 22/1

*Prices correct at time of publication

Drawing Interest GAA