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Sunday, 09 December, 2018

Normal service to resume at Croker as Rock can guide Dublin to glory

David Jennings with his view on the Division 1 and Division 2 finals

Johnny Cooper: Dublin defender could get on the scoresheet in Division 1 decider against Galway
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Dublin v Galway
Croke Park, 4pm Sunday

Dublin are poised to win Division 1 for the fifth time in six years and their Croke Park experience and superb game management should get them over the line, but they are priced accordingly and the handicap spread looks about right so it is best to look outside the box for value. 

When these sides met in round six it finished 0-13 each and Dublin were lucky to escape with a stalemate. Galway made much of the running and missed three decent goal opportunities. 

But the Dublin side who travelled to Pearse Stadium that day will be very different from the one that lines out at Croke Park today. There is silverware at stake so expect Jim Gavin to roll out the big guns. 

The one key change in personnel could be Stephen Cluxton taking back the number one jersey from Evan Comerford. It is not that the deputy did much wrong against either Galway or Monaghan but he is not the greatest goalkeeper the game has ever seen so Cluxton's return will be a big bonus. 

Dublin won five out of five with Cluxton. They have won none out of two with Comerford. 

Add Cluxton's return to the fact that Galway have failed to find the net in their last three outings against Monaghan, Dublin and Kildare and the 6-5 about no Galway goal begins to look very appetising indeed. 

Despite marching merrily to the Division 1 decider without losing a game, Galway have never scored more than one goal in any game. They tend to take points from distance rather than draw the man and create goal chances when they counter-attack. 

Johnny Cooper has got on the scoresheet in his last two games against Kerry and Galway and his shot conversion rate is very high for a corner-back. He can be expected to sneak forward at every opportunity so take the 13-8 available about him nailing at least one of his shots. 

The player points market is also what appeals most with regard to Dean Rock. You can back one of the best free-takers in the business at 4-5 with BoyleSports to score seven points or more and that looks terrific value. 

It seems the layers have taken his scoring throughout the group stages at face value and failed to factor in that he picked up a black card after 46 minutes against Galway (had scored two points beforehand), was substituted after 58 minutes in the win over Kerry (had scored four points) and again substituted after 63 minutes in their Tyrone triumph (had scored four points). 

Do not expect Rock to be called ashore with so much at stake this tim. He recorded an impressive seven-point individual tally in the loss to Monaghan last time out. 

Recommendations
No Galway goal
2pts 6-5 BoyleSports
Dean Rock to score over 6.5 points
3pts 4-5 BoyleSports
Johnny Cooper to score over 0.5 points
1pts 13-8 BoyleSports


Cavan v Roscommon
Croke Park, 2pm Sunday

Given that they pocketed only three points from a possible six in the first three rounds of Division 2, Roscommon have done remarkably well to reach the decider and they are strongly fancied to take the silverware home from Croke Park.

The experience they gained in last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final, especially their impressive display against Mayo in the drawn encounter, will stand them in good stead as they return to headquarters.

They have won four games on the trot and the manner in which they dismantled a Cork side who had beaten Meath the previous week suggests they are hitting peak form.

Kevin McStay has the luxury of naming a full-strength side for the clash and forwards such as Niall Kilroy, Conor Devaney, Donie Smith and Diarmuid Murtagh give Roscommon an edge up front on a Cavan side who like to play on the counter-attack.

There are quite a few tasty wagers on the final coupon, and backing Cavan to score 17 points or fewer appeals most. 

Cavan have failed to top the 17-point marks in their last four group games in Division 2 and scored only 0-13 when these sides met in round six in mid-March. 

Roscommon have conceded an average of 15 points in their seven games but they coughed up 2-12 to Meath in round one and 3-9 to Tipperary in round two. Their defence has tightened up considerably in recent weeks. 

Cavan have failed to find the net in their last four group games against Tipperary, Roscommon, Down and Cork so it is hard to fathom why BoyleSports are offering a massive 15-8 for them to do so again. That is far too tempting to turn down.

Recommendations
Roscommon -1
2pts 10-11 general
Cavan under 17.5 points
3pts 4-5 BoyleSports
No Cavan goal
2pts 15-8 BoyleSports

Already advised
Roscommon to win Division 2
2pts 7-2 January 27


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Galway have failed to find the net in their last three outings against Monaghan, Dublin and Kildare
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