Twelve left on road to Croker!


On RTE’s Sunday Game last weekend, the panel rated the twelve teams left in the race for Sam. This weekend that number will be reduced to ten when Galway face Donegal and Mayo play Cork. Roscommon could face Cork, Mayo or Donegal but not Galway. Here, People Sport takes a look at the teams that are left and their long-term chances:

1. Dublin

Look stronger than ever with such a strong panel. They play football the way it should be played and are a joy to watch. They look a bit dodgy under the high ball in defence and Kildare’s total of 1-17 last Sunday will give Kerry and other pretenders hope. But it looks almost odds-on that Sam will be staying in the capital for the third year in a row.

Odds: 11/10.

2. Kerry

Were very sharp against Cork in the Munster final and their full-forward line looks lethal. But there are question marks about their defence and strength in depth. Their league final win against Dublin is a sign that they could have the measure of the Dubs. They should get to the final.

Odds: 5/2.

3. Tyrone

Are the one team who will not fear either Dublin or Kerry. They are playing more attacking football this year and look to have a very talented bench too. They would want a dog fight to have a chance of beating either of the two big guns but don’t rule them out.

Odds: 5/1.

4. Mayo

They come back year after year and confound the critics and they seem to get stronger with every game through the back door. The form of Aidan O’Shea is a huge plus for them but they still look short of options up front again. They will win this weekend though and should get to the last four at least.

Odds: 8/1.

5. Roscommon

Roscommon’s young team are in bonus territory after a fantastic Connacht final performance. The draw will be vital after this weekend’s games. A lot of the Roscommon players would like to face Mayo but I would think that Roscommon would have a better chance against Donegal. It will be brilliant experience for Roscommon who are definitely on an upward curve.

Odds 33/1.

6. Donegal

Have been very disappointing in the championship and will have a lot to prove when they take on Galway this weekend in what looks like a 50/50 game. Michael Murphy is still their ‘go to’ man. But they will look at the Galway game as one they can win which would put them in the last eight. Not the force of the last few years though.

Odds: 33/1.

7. Monaghan

One of the surprises of the championship has been the poor form of Monaghan. They scraped by Cavan before losing out to Down and they limped past Carlow last weekend. Their excellent league form is a distant memory now. However, they have a huge game coming up against Down and a win there changes everything for this summer.

Odds: 50/1

8. Galway

Were shocked to be handed a nine-point beating by Roscommon in the Connacht final. How they react to that beating will determine how they do against Donegal this weekend. They have some great players but they will have to perform on the day if they want to progress. Odds: 66/1.

9. Armagh

Have done well to get this far and their win against Tipperary was unexpected. Kieran McGeeney has done a good job with a limited enough panel but they look to have gone as far as they can.

Odds 80/1.

10. Down

After great wins against Armagh and Monaghan they were brought back down to earth against Tyrone. It is almost certain that Monaghan will be waiting in the long grass for Down the weekend after next and their championship summer will be over very soon.

Odds: 125/1

11. Cork

Amazing that a county with so many excellent players are so poor. They have struggled in every single game they have played in this championship and with Mayo coming up it looks like curtains for the Rebels on Saturday. If they get their act together they are a possible top four side but they look in disarray at the moment.

Odds: 125/1

12. Kildare

It is not often a team beaten by nine points in a provincial final can have plenty to be happy about but that’s the case here with Kildare who have a young team that will definitely improve and they could cause a few problems through the back door. They can beat Armagh and get into the last eight and take their chances there.

Odds: 66/1.