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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Tyrone set for fast start in bid to bury Dublin demons

Louth look out of their depth against Cavan

Tyrone's Cathal McCarron advances under pressure
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Tyrone's season could be defined by 70 minutes on Saturday night as Mickey Harte's men try to lay their Dublin demons to rest in Omagh in the second round of Division 1 fixtures.

Tyrone need to find their form fast. They were humiliated by Dublin in last year's All-Ireland semi-final, played pretty deplorably in last weekend's loss to Galway and have lost the retired Sean Cavanagh. Another landslide loss could tip them over the edge. 

It could be worth taking Tyrone's defeat to Galway with a pinch of salt, though, as Darren McCurry was shown a red card after just 25 minutes and Tyrone were against a strong breeze in the second half so had little chance of retrieving the deficit. They are far better than they showed there.

Despite missing a whole host of key players, including Jack McCaffrey and Con O'Callaghan, Dublin brushed aside Kildare with the minimum of fuss in their opener at Croke Park last Saturday. It was men against boys after the interval.

Dublin started slowly against Kildare, trailing by two points at half-time. They were also in arrears at halfway in the All-Ireland final. Second-half surges have defined the Jim Gavin era and they might need a strong late performance to get maximum points from this trip to Omagh.

Tyrone need a response after stumbling in Tuam, so expect to see the hosts explode from the traps and build up a lead by half-time.

Whether they will be able to hold on to it is questionable, but odds of 15-8 for the home side to be in front at half-time are certainly worth taking. Tyrone are still going to be a force in 2018. 

Both Mayo and Kerry were narrow winners in round one but the layers seem to have read too much into those results.

Mayo managed to win without Lee Keegan but that clash with Monaghan could have gone either way and they would not be so short to dispose of Kerry if they had lost that outing.

Kerry seem to have been priced up as if they had lost their initial outing, which they almost did. It is doubtful that Eamon Fitzmaurice had his side jazzed up to destroy Donegal, so expect an improved showing, especially if James O'Donoghue starts in attack.

Mayo got the better of Kerry in Tralee in last year's league (0-15 to 1-10) and heaped heartache on them in the All-Ireland semi-final replay so the Kingdom will not lack for motivation. They need to make a statement of intent and it is worth taking the generous 12-5 available about the away side winning by two points or more.

Louth look out of their depth in Division 2 and could struggle to keep the scoreline respectable against Cavan, who were not disgraced in the top tier last term despite suffering relegation. 

Cavan managed to steal a point from their trip to Clare (1-12 to 2-9) and that should set them up for a promotion push.

Louth were no match for Down last Sunday and will just want to keep their heads above water, a task which will likely prove beyond them. It ought to be all one-way traffic and the three-point handicap should be surpassed with ease. 

Recommendations
Tyrone to lead at half-time
2pts 15-8 Coral, Ladbrokes
Kerry -1
2pts 12-5 Betfair, Paddy Power
Cavan -3
2pts Evs general


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It could be worth taking Tyrone's defeat to Galway with a pinch of salt
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