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Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Cavan are cracking value to take down Tipp in back-door duel

Clare a good bet against Mayo

Gearoid McKiernan fends off Tiernan McCann: The Cavan man is not afraid of having a go at goal from distance
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Clare v Mayo: All-Ireland SFC qualifier
RTE2 & Premier Sports, 5pm Saturday 

Cavan might not be everyone's cup of tea and they are not always pretty to watch but the Breffni boys are cracking value for their Division 2B qualifier clash with Tipperary.

They are evens to win by three points or more and it could be far more lopsided than the betting suggests. 

Cavan were in Division 1 this year and held their own in most games. They beat Mayo in Castlebar and drew with Monaghan and Kerry. They also gave as good as they got for long periods of their Ulster championship clash with Monaghan and were only the width of the post away from a replay after hitting the woodwork in the last play of the game.

Cavan have a proven track record in the qualifiers and reached the All-Ireland quarter-final in 2013 by beating Fermanagh, Derry and London along the way. They were value for more than the winning margin (1-17 to 0-16) against Offaly in round one of the qualifiers last month and they were 1-14 to 0-9 ahead and coasting after 43 minutes. They took their foot off the gas from that point on and had James McEnroe sent off as well.

The most important piece of news in the build-up to the game is that Michael Quinlivan will be missing for Tipperary.

Tipp selector Shane Stapleton confirmed that Quinlivan won’t have recovered in time from the ankle ligament damage sustained against Cork to take his place against Cavan and that is a massive loss to last year's beaten All-Ireland semi-finalists. He is their leader, their best player and their chief scoring threat. His absence is surely a three to four-point swing yet it has not been factored into the betting.

Tipperary also come into this qualifier clash after a bruising one-point defeat to Cork. Much of the post-match talk was about Cork's dismal first-half display but Tipp's second half one wasn't much better. That was a game they should have won and they didn't. We have since found out how poor the Rebels are too.

Cavan's style of play could frustrate Tipperary and the hosts might be in complete control midway through the second half. The two-point handicap should be easily accounted for and it looks the best bet of the summer.

It is hard to resist going in on Cavan at 11-4 to win by seven points or more as well. This game is theirs for the taking.

Donegal look a team on a downward spiral following their tame Ulster exit to Tyrone and a lacklustre display against Longford. While Meath are no great shakes themselves, the Royals look overpriced on home soil.

Meath stumbled over Sligo but, at least their rearguard unit was more assured, and meeting either Mayo or Donegal was the draw that Andy McEntee would have craved. There will be a huge crowd in Navan for the showdown and it is the perfect stage for this new-look Meath side to step up to the plate.

Donegal looked stale against Longford and the old Jim McGuinness-style of play seems to have finally given way. They still pack their defence with numbers but are not moving the ball as quickly from defence to attack as they used to during the glory years. The way this game might pan out might just suit Meath and it's worth backing them at 3-1 to win by two points or more.

Mayo were blessed to avoid the banana skin of Derry in Castlebar last Saturday and surely they do not deserve to be as short as they are for their visit to Ennis to face Clare.

Mayo are being priced as though they are the same Mayo side who drew with Dublin in last year's All-Ireland final but they are not. They have still not found a suitable sweeper, they are still lacking a few natural scoring forwards and they look low on confidence. 

Clare have found a system that works for them and it would be foolish to underestimate their victory over Laois last week. Quotes of 4-1 are not a fair reflection of their chances and an upset could be on the cards.

The outsiders also have a squeak in the back-door duel at Cusack Park in Mullingar. Hosts Westmeath are as big as 5-2 with BoyleSports and can be backed at 100-30 with a one-point handicap with the same firm.

Leitrim's defence really struggled to contain Roscommon so their tussle with Carlow has goals written all over it. Take the 11-8 with BoyleSports about three or more match goals.

Recommendations
Cavan -2
5pts Evs Paddy Power, Betway
Cavan -6
1pt 14-5 Coral, Ladbrokes
Meath -1
1pt 3-1 Paddy Power
Clare
1pt 4-1 Betway
Westmeath -1
2pts 10-3 Paddy Power
Over 2.5 goals in Carlow v Leitrim
2pts 7-4 BoyleSports

The most important piece of news in the build-up to the game is that Michael Quinlivan will be missing for Tipperary
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