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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Galway disrespected by handicap and can keep things tight

David Jennings thinks the Tribesmen will test the Dubs

Damien Comer has been a goal machine for Galway
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All-Ireland semi-final
Dublin v Galway 

Croke Park, 5pm Saturday

Galway are not pretty to watch and their latest loss to Monaghan was their ugliest performance to date but they have been disrespected heading into this All-Ireland semi-final and look terrific value to stay within a seven-point handicap. 

Galway play with an all-or-nothing approach. They play with incredible intensity, pressing all the time and throwing themselves into every challenge. There are no half-measures. Every tackle, every piece of possession and every shot is treated the same. That was the way they played against Kerry and it was the same in their success over Kildare.

Last Saturday's 0-16 to 0-8 defeat in Salthill saw Galway taking their foot slightly off the throttle. They did not move the ball with the same pace or fluency or dive on breaking ball as though their lives depended on it.

No matter what a manager says or how a player convinces himself that a game must be won, if you have a place in an All-Ireland semi-final to look forward no matter what happens it must be hard to produc the same performance as for a knockout match.

Every one of Galway’s players were a little off their game and they paid the price against a Monaghan side scrapping for their lives.

This Saturday will surely be very different. This time Galway are underdogs playing against arguably the best football team of all time. They won’t have much possession and will play on the counter-attack. That is when the Tribesmen are at their best.

It is not that Dublin have looked invincible this season, far from it. 

Tyrone would have got within a point of them in injury-time had they converted a relatively simple free and a lot of their attackers have failed to fire. 

Con O'Callaghan and Paul Mannion have been particularly poor and, if Jim Gavin decides to call upon Cormac Costello, who scored nine points in their rout of Roscommon, it might not be the best decision in the world as he will not get the same time and space to do similar damage.

Galway ought to hold their own in the midfield battlezone and this game could be in the melting pot until the final quarter. Dublin's bench could win the game for them but do not expect a cakewalk. 

Galway can stick within a generous seven-point handicap and it would come as little surprise to see them lead at half-time too. 

The Tribesmen will start with a serious intensity and that is something Dublin have not had to deal with this season. It could take them a while to adapt. 

The 7-2 for Galway to be leading at half-time looks too big. Dublin were sluggish in the first half against Tyrone and Laois. It can take them time to warm up.

Galway +7
3pts 5-6 Betway, BoyleSports
Galway to lead at half-time
1pt 7-2 BoyleSports

Comer can edge out Kilkenny in the scoring stakes

Damien Comer, the catalyst in Galway's voyage to the All-Ireland semi-final, looks great value at 6-4 to score more than Ciaran Kilkenny. 

Although Kilkenny has been deployed in a more advanced role this year and was scoring freely in the early rounds of the Leinster Championship, Jim Gavin knows he is one of his best ball winners around midfielder and his ability to retain possession in big games is of paramount importance.

Expect to see Kilkenny revert to his old self in a game that won't be as open as the some of the mismatches in the Leinster Championship when the Castleknock clubman ran riot. 

Kilkenny scored two points in Dublin's win over Tyrone and a single point in their defeat of Donegal. Comer has been a more reliable point-builder. 

Comer got only one point against Monaghan last weekend but he excelled against Kildare with three points. 

He will surely be the focal point of the Galway attack whereas Kilkenny will be asked to do much more defensive work.

Shane Walsh is a rare talent and held in the highest regard but his performances have been a shade overrated in 2018 and his free-taking has been hit and miss. 

Dublin do not concede many frees in the scoring zone so Walsh could struggle to score five points, especially if conditions are wet and slippy. 

BoyleSports are offering odds-against Walsh getting four points or fewer and that is worth snapping up.

D Comer to score more than C Kilkenny
2pts 6-4 BoyleSports
Under 4.5 S Walsh points
2pts 11-10 BoyleSports

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Galway ought to hold their own in the midfield battlezone and this game could be in the melting pot until the final quarter
E.W. Terms
Sky bet