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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Monaghan can topple Tribesmen to book semi-final ticket

David Jennings with the best bets for the last round of the Super 8s

Conor McManus (left) spearheads a sharp Monaghan attack
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Galway v Monaghan
Pearse Stadium, 6pm Saturday

Monaghan look terrific value to beat Galway by two points or more and book their ticket to the All-Ireland semi-final in style. 

Some seem to think that avoiding Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final will be sufficient motivation for Galway to go gung-ho in search of a third straight success in the Super 8s, but Monaghan's survival is at stake and surely Malachy O'Rourke's charges will be more up for it. 

If this ends in a draw, both teams will qualify, but it is hard to believe both teams will be playing for that. Monaghan are best when having their backs to the wall and you can expect them go into the clash all guns blazing. 

The way Galway play will suit Monaghan too. They had the Tribesmen in deep trouble when they met earlier in the year only for Fintan Kelly to pick up a red card at a crucial stage and let Galway off the hook. 

Galway won that game 0-17 to 1-10 but that fails to tell the whole story. Monaghan gave as good as they got in the opening half only for Kelly's moment of madness to cost them dearly. He received his matching orders before the break. 

Monaghan should already be in the semi-final. They outplayed, outthought and outfought Kerry for most of the tie only for David Clifford to stage a late smash-and-grab raid with his late goal earning them a share of the spoils. 

There was so much to love about that Monaghan performance. Conor McManus was terrific and should have been awarded the man of the match accolade even though Rory Beggan's kicking was top-notch. 

Kelly has been in great form, as has Karl O'Connnell, and with Conor McCarthy and Jack McCarron capable of doing severe damage, Monaghan might have more firepower up front. 

Monaghan have more to play for and that could tell in the second half if things are tight. You simply cannot question the character of this Monaghan side and their will to win can drive them on in one of the biggest games in the county's history. 

It is likely to be low-scoring, so the other bet that appeals on the coupon is for Galway to score 17 points or fewer. 

Monaghan -1
2pts 23-10 Coral, Ladbrokes 
Under 17.5 Galway points
3pts 8-11 Paddy Power

Kerry v Kildare 
Fitzgerald Stadium, 6pm Saturday

This is the worst nightmare of organisers who set up the new Super 8s format as Kildare have nothing to play for but pride and Kerry could go out too, even if they win.

These sides only have a point between them after two rounds of the Super 8s and if anything Kildare have played the better football. 

The problem now is that Kildare have little motivation and ace attacker Daniel Flynn has had his one-match ban upheld by the CCCC. Flynn picked up a red card in his side’s loss to Galway but there was hope that it would be overturned by the ruling body. That did not happen, much to Cian O'Neill's annoyance. 

With Flynn out and confidence low in Kildare, the stage is surely set for Kerry to cut loose and rack up a big win.

Eamon Fitzmaurice’s misfiring troops were lucky to escape unscathed from their trip to Clones and it needed a last-gasp effort from David Clifford to snatch a share of the spoils.

Expect to see a very different Kerry performance this time.

Kildare are unlikely to play as defensively as they usually do given that they have zilch to play for and that will suit the home side who will be afforded much more space than they have been used to. The handicap spread is eight with Paddy Power but Kerry could win this game by 15 points or more.

The Kerry forwards have so many points to prove. Paul Geaney has been quiet and needs a big game, while James O'Donoghue is another who has failed to get his groove on in recent weeks. Teenager Clifford has been carrying the Kerry attack but he can expect more support this time. 

Kerry -7
4pts 4-5 Betfair, Paddy Power 

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It is simple really, Kerry should win this game by ten points or more
E.W. Terms
Sky bet