The Allianz Leagues continues this weekend alongside the AIB All-Ireland Club Hurling Championship final replay and here at Bear in the Square, we choose the value bets to follow.
We have rated the bets from one to five, with one being dodgy and five being a sure thing.
Westmeath to consign Offaly to Division 4
Local rivals Westmeath and Offaly clash in a match of significance for both teams. Westmeath have a very slim chance of promotion and will want to consign their Leinster rivals to Division 4. They have performed quite well in this campaign. Excellent wins over Sligo and Fermanagh was followed by a disappointing defeat to Longford. They will want to end this campaign on a high after that. Westmeath beat Offaly by three points in the O’Byrne Cup, since then, both teams’ form has been on differing curves.
Offaly have really disappointed since the start of the league after a promising O’Byrne Cup campaign. They were lucky to come away from last weekend’s tie against Sligo with a draw (Sligo hit the crossbar twice). Their record in TEG Cusack Park has been woeful in recent years. Expect this to continue this weekend.
Odds: Westmeath (-1) 10/11
Derry to secure Division 3 status for another year
Elsewhere in the relegation battle in Division 3, Sligo host Derry in Markievicz Park. Sligo’s late equaliser against Offaly last Monday was crucial in their battle to stay up in Division Three. They have been very disappointing during this campaign in particular in their defeats to Armagh and Westmeath. Their score difference is -22. We believe that they will require a favour from Westmeath to survive here.
Derry started poorly to life in Division 3 with defeats to Westmeath and Longford. However, in recent weeks their form has improved coinciding with the return of a number of their Slaughtneil players. Pádraig Cassidy, Karl McKaigue and Shane McGuigan, when introduced, made a massive impact against Wexford last Sunday. We believe they will safely secure their Division 3 status this Sunday.
Odds: Derry (-1) Evens
Defensive solidity to reign supreme in Wexford Park
The re-arranged quarter-final between Wexford and Galway takes place this Saturday in Wexford Park. Galway will be very disappointed with the nature of their defeat to Limerick last time out. They have failed to fire yet in this year’s league and it will interesting see how they approach this clash.
Wexford have really impressed since their return to the top table. Outside of their slight defensive blip against Tipperary, their defensive system has been successful thus far. One issue is their lack of a consistent goal threat (three goals in five games). In four of their five league games, there was two goals or less. Lest we forget they also never scored a goal during their successful championship campaign last year.
Similarly enough, Galway only featured in one game with more than two goals and that was against free-scoring Limerick. We believe this trend will continue here.
Odds: 5/4 (-2.5 goals)
Cuala’s O’Connell to get his name on the scoresheet.
Whilst Ireland was securing Grand Slam last Saturday, a thriller of a club hurling final was taking place in Croke Park. The hurlers of Cuala and Na Piarsaigh reacquaint themselves this Saturday in Portlaoise.
Even the most loyal Cuala supporter will admit they were lucky to get a second bite of the cherry here. We believe the most interesting market here is individual player to score. Darragh O’Connell has really impressed over the past two years for Cuala. The Kerry native has scored at least a point in four out of five games in this year’s provincial and All-Ireland campaign. He was man of the match in last year’s All-Ireland final proving his worth on the biggest day. Also he is an excellent long-range striker of the sliotar and we expect him to at least get a score here.
Odds: Darragh O’Connell over 0.5 points 4/6