Seamus Duke on Sport – 28th of July

 

Unpredictable football! Who saw that coming?

Who would be a pundit? The two games last weekend in the football championship were utterly unpredictable and no one saw Galway being able to beat Donegal by 15 points, running up 4-17 in the process. I know that Donegal were very poor on the night but Galway were a totally different team than the one we saw in Salthill two weeks previously. But it was a very poor game. Despite their heroics against Donegal it is hard to see them being able to cope with Kerry.

  The Mayo Cork game was extraordinary. It was one of the most thrilling games of football I have seen in years but it defied analysis. At least three times in the game Mayo looked like they would pull away to win easily but each time Cork came back. Mayo were just about the better team over the 98 minutes of football but how many times can they go to the well of character, heart and resilience before their luck runs out?

  Mayo are often criticised for having a poor attack but last Sunday they scored an impressive 0-27 and Aidan O’Shea, Cillian O’Connor, Diarmuid O’Connor and Andy Moran all played well. In fact, it was their defence that looked dodgy.

  Cork went down fighting and they will be looking for a new manager in the next few weeks. They have plenty of talent and all they need is the right man to run the show for them.

  It is fantastic that there are three Connacht teams in the last eight of the football championship and there will be a huge exodus heading east from early on Sunday morning. I have to say I am really looking forward to it.

Hurling was a let-down last weekend!

Usually at this time of the year we are waxing lyrical about the hurling championship. I watched both games last weekend and I have to say they were poor enough.

  Tipperary were lucky against a Clare team who missed too many scoring chances and Waterford v Wexford was a tactical bore of a game. The way Galway and Cork play the game is far more attractive.

  I would warmly fancy Cork against Waterford but Tipperary v Galway will be a far more evenly matched encounter. Tipperary may not be as good as they were last year but they have some marvellous players. If they turn it on, Galway will have to be at their very best to beat them.

  Pairc Uí Chaoimh looks like a fantastic stadium on TV but there are huge access problems and anyone who has attended a big game there in the past will know about the traffic chaos there. But the stadium is there now and it is up to the powers that be to sort out the access. I’m sure it can be done.

Exciting times for Roscommon soccer

The news that St. Peter’s FC, Athlone and Boyle Celtic are to join the Roscommon & District Football League is very welcome.  The league has always been very well organised and these two strong clubs will certainly add to the league in terms of quality.   Boyle have been very successful in recent years and their run to the semi-finals of the FAI Junior Cup earlier this year will live long in the memory. Exciting times ahead for the league and well done to all concerned.

Great Drama at British Open!

The British Open at Birkdale provided sports fans with some incredible drama over the four days but especially on Sunday as Jordan Spieth battled his way to a sensational win.

  He looked good on all three days leading up to the final round but when the pressure came on he cracked. From a position where he was three shots ahead, he found himself one behind with only six holes to play. Some luck (on the 13th) and then some unbelievable play saw him cruise to victory and for someone so young (24) he has incredible self-confidence and belief. He edged out Matt Kuchar in the end.

  Kuchar is a very nice man but seems to lack the ruthless streak that you need to be a champion. Spieth certainly has that trait and he will go on to win many more majors with his mindset.

  For Rory McIlroy, it was another case of what might have been and now there is only one more chance for him to win a major championship this year. That certainly was not in the plan! He is blowing too hot and cold and needs to be able to put four solid rounds together.

  There is also good news for sports fans about the USPGA Championship as the BBC have secured the broadcast rights for the final major of the year, an event which Sky TV lost. Peter Alliss and Ken Brown will be back in business!

Tour doubts remain

There is no reason to doubt that Chris Froome is genuine and is as clean as a whistle but it is only human nature that one would have doubts about him after he won the Tour de France for the fourth time last weekend.

  It is the most gruelling sport of all but given that it has been riddled with drug taking over the last number of decades it is natural that people would be suspicious. I hope he is genuine because to win it four times in the modern era is a serious achievement.

Championship Watch

All-Ireland SFC Quarter-Final
Mayo v Roscommon on Sunday in Croke Park at 4 pm

The game is previewed in detail elsewhere in the sports section this week. I think it will be a cracking contest. Roscommon to beat Galway and Mayo in the same year in the championship…Why not?

Match odds: Mayo 4/11, Roscommon 3/1, Draw 8/1.

Prediction: Roscommon

All-Ireland SFC Quarter-Final
Galway v Kerry on Sunday in Croke Park at 2 pm

Having scored 4-17 against Donegal last Saturday, one might say that Galway should be fancied to cause an upset against Kerry but Donegal were so poor this will be a totally different prospect for Kevin Walsh’s charges. Kerry look like a side on a mission and their full-forward line looks lethal. Galway will not get the space they got against Donegal.

Match odds: Kerry 2/9, Galway 4/1, Draw 12/1.

Prediction: Kerry

All-Ireland qualifiers Round 4 on Saturday in Croke Park

Monaghan v Down at 5 pm

A repeat of the game where Down overwhelmed Monaghan in Ulster with a fiercely intense display, which caught them on the hop. I would say Monaghan are relishing the chance to get another crack at Down and this time they will not get caught.

Match odds: Monaghan 4/11, Down 3/1, Draw 10/1.

Prediction: Monaghan

Armagh v Kildare at 7 pm

Armagh have done well to get this far but this looks like a very good Kildare team and if they can repeat their Leinster final form they should get through here without too much fuss.

Match odds: Kildare 1/2, Armagh 2/1, Draw 8/1.

Prediction: Kildare