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GAA preview stats and suggested bets 04/03/2023 – Dublin may relish underdogs tag

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The Allianz Football League hurtled through halfway last weekend and, in Division 1, Mayo remain the only side without a loss on their record in what is by any measure a tight section, with three points between the top five sides and just one splitting the bottom three.

There is more of a divide in Division 2 where Derry and Dublin have swept all before them, with four wins apiece, although something will have to give on Saturday when they meet in Celtic Park. 

Dubs ready to make a statement

Derry vs. Dublin, Saturday 4th March, 5.00pm

They haven’t gone away, you know. Dublin have won 4-4 in Division 2 thus far but it’s safe to suggest that Dessie Farrell’s side haven’t exactly been barnstorming. Their scoring differential of +13 is paltry in comparison to Derry’s +40, while even third-placed Cork are sat on +31.

The Rebels, however, were no match for Dublin in Pairc Ui Chaoimh last month despite firing in 2-10 and they owe much of that positivity to a hammering of Limerick subsequently.

Rory Gallagher’s Derry meanwhile, the Ulster champions, have cruised to four wins with the latest of those a 14-point win over a tame Kildare side in St Conleth’s Park last weekend, the home side only able to register seven points on the day. 

It’s worth recalling too that Derry opened with a win over a Limerick side that could only score a meagre four points. The northern outfit have done well but their overall concession of 35 points in four games hints that they haven’t met a real test yet.

Dublin will surely present them with just that on Saturday evening in front of the television cameras. 

It would have been impossible to imagine even a year ago that Derry would start this contest as favourites, but that’s the case. Dublin surely have gears still to go through and while this should be a close affair, taking a short price about a home win is risky business and the travelling Dubs may want to lay down the law having been installed as underdogs. 

Armagh should have too much for Donegal

Armagh vs. Donegal, Saturday 4th March, 7.30pm

Armagh went down by a single point against Kerry in Tralee last weekend and surely would have made the long trip home pondering a chance missed. 

It was a low-scoring affair and Kieran McGeeney’s side appeared content with those terms of engagement, when really there was a chance to replicate Mayo’s approach from the previous week and have a go at a Kerry team not quite up to full cruising speed yet.

It means that what was a potentially promising league campaign for Armagh has faltered badly. They go into the weekend ahead of visitors Donegal on score difference alone – a poor effort given the Tir Conaill men have struggled to this point.

Donegal battled to their own low-scoring draw with Galway in Letterkenny last Sunday, aided by a controversial first-half penalty, and would relish another arm-wrestle in the Athletic Grounds. 

When these teams met for the second time last summer, McGeeney and Armagh won easily and did so by going for the jugular. That’s the positive approach that should lead them to a home win on Saturday evening.

Kerry can take spoils in Omagh

Tyrone vs. Kerry, Sunday 5th March, 12.45pm

It’s been a troubling season so far for Tyrone, a continuation of their travails from last term in truth. 

They got out of the blocks quickly in Castlebar last Saturday, registering the first three scores, but were swept away afterwards by a rampant Mayo side that scored 4-10 for a comfortable ten-point win in the end.

Kerry, as noted, were in a dogged fight with Armagh last time but, on the evidence to date, Tyrone aren’t well-enough armed to engage in that sort of battle with the All-Ireland champions. 

With their two Galacticos, David Clifford and Sean O’Shea, back in harness last weekend, the Kingdom are starting to ramp things up. Only Monaghan have conceded more than the Red Hands in Division 1 so far and it could be a restless Sunday sermon for the natives in Omagh. 


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