It’s a case of another split decision in the world of GAA punditry and odds-laying in relation to tomorrow’s league clash with Tyrone up in Omagh (throw-in 2.30 pm). The pundits are divided evenly, with the bookies swinging it in favour of the home side. So, if it’s a case of following the money, Tyrone must be fancied to prevail tomorrow.
In our camp are the Times (sub required), where Sean Moran notes that, but for what he terms as “peevish misfortune”, we could be in the shake-up at the other end of the table. The Hogan Stand, who describe us as “one of the sharper sides in the division” also favour us but seem to do so mostly on the basis that Tyrone are “continuing to rebuild”. Our extensive alterations in team line-up don’t seem to have been noticed by the Hogan Stand pundits, unlike the Times’ Sean Moran, who draws explicit attention to the fact that our current line-up bears little resemblance to the side that started last May in Salthill.
In the opposing camp are RTE, who’ve tipped against us throughout the campaign (not a bad approach, you’d have to admit, given our results), who have a curious interlude about whether or not Super Mac will be back for the Summer in their piece. They also tee up their selection by saying that Tyrone “are a little short on confidence” and that a win would be just the thing to bring some smiles back on their faces. I dunno – if they’re not playing too well I’d say that we could be the lads to exploit that situation. The Indo, meanwhile, justify their choice on the basis of Tyrone’s home advantage. While this has tended to be a significant factor in a number of games this season, it hasn’t helped us all that much, as we’ve collected three of our five points on the road. And, as Johnno has repeatedly pointed out, for the second league season in a row we’ve only had three home games.
Okay, all that punditry is obviously shot full of holes. The money men have Tyrone at 4/6, while we’re available at 13/8. That’s quite generous odds on us for a match at this time of year.
Personally, it’s hard to know what to think about how tomorrow’s match will go. We’ve a very good record against Tyrone in recent years and, as already noted, our record away from home is okay too. Given the total absence of any luck coming our way in the six league matches we’ve played, we’re certainly due a bit tomorrow and, were we to get a rub of the green up at Healy Park, it could be enough for us to record a narrow victory. On the other hand, we could have to endure our fourth narrow loss of the campaign. With a 20 points difference advantage over Kildare, we’re extremely unlikely to get relegated even if we do lose and, given the very committed way we’ve played throughout the campaign, I’d say the chances of our taking a tonking tomorrow are quite limited: Paddy Power have Tyrone at 14/1 to beat us by 10-12 points – that should be 500/1 based on current form.
That’s about all for now. I won’t be at the match tomorrow and I’m unlikely to be tuned into Mad West on the net for all of it either. As a result, tomorrow night’s match report will be very much based on second-hand (and third-hand) information and, shorn of pictures and video clips, will also be less of a multimedia experience than usual. Till then amigos.