At least a half a dozen clubs started this season with realistic aims of landing the senior football championship, but from an early stage this year it has looked as if it would all boil down to a battle between Monaleen and Drom/Broadford, the two clubs that between them have shared ten of the last twelve championships in the county.
Both sides are unbeaten in advance of Sunday’s final, as Monaleen’s draw with Pallasgreen back in June remains the only blot in the copybook for either side. Whether for that reason, or because of the county board’s decision to play the tie in Newcastlewest, Drom/Broadford have been installed as the 5/6 favourites in advance of this tie. Paddy Power also bet 7/1 the draw and 5/4 Monaleen, while it’s 8/11 D/B and even money Monaleen for who will lift the trophy.
Semi-final form would suggest that the reigning champions are worthy favourites, however in our quest for a bet, we noted with interest Monaleen’s difficulty in raising green flags this year. The city club have scored just three goals in six ties, while D/B have hit eight. Both clubs have conceded six majors.
Killian Phair’s return from London has really sharpened up the D/B attack this year and they have offered the most potent threat in the county close to goal. Monaleen have plenty of proven forwards of their own but they don’t tend to create the same number of chances inside fifteen yards, so they’ll build their game plan around the very plausible goal of winning this tie with points only – as they’ve done three time already this year. Paddy Power bet 5/6 Drom/Broadford for the first goal, 4/1 no goal and 7/4 Monaleen. A bet on no goalscorer here, with a saving wager on D/B, could be a safe way to play this one.
Elsewhere this week, in a club hurling campaign where high profile clubs are dropping like flies – Ballygunner, St Thomas and Ballyhale Shamrocks all bit the dust last week – Ferns of Wexford have a decent chance of upsetting Oulart the Ballagh in the county final down in Wexford Park, also throwing in on Sunday.
Oulart are one game away from becoming the first club ever to win five titles in a row in Wexford, but they’ve shown a few signs of weakness this year and an up and coming Ferns team are well placed to give them plenty of problems. Ferns have scored very well this year and they’ll be well able to keep their heads if the champions make a fast start, while their physicality will cause a smaller Oulart team plenty of problems. Kilcormac-Killoughey showed in the Leinster final last year that Oulart struggle to put their best foot forward in a tough, physical game and Ferns will be well able to lower the blades and push the champions to their limit. If Oulart can produce their best hurling they will prevail, but at 5/2, Ferns is a good way to turn a small bet into a potentially very profitable wager.
by Kevin Egan