BETTING COLUMN BY SEAMUS O’CONCHUR
The Friday night lights will be switched on again for 2013 as Bohs welcome UCD to Dalymount tonight, kicking off an eagerly-anticipated second season for Aaron Callaghan and his young squad.
Although every football fan “eagerly anticipates” every season, the Bohemian brand of eagerness is encouraged by last season, when we started with a manager and squad that collectively represented something of an unknown quantity. The manner in which they went about their business however, competing with the best in the division, means that we go into this campaign with no fear.
“Unknown quantity” is probably a phrase that can be applied to UCD nearly every season. Bohs fans are sure to enjoy the attacking talent of Chris Lyons and the defensive contributions of Ciaran Nangle this season, and both were signed from UCD. Dinny Corcoran will line out against us.
Looking at the betting on our game, it is heartening to see a fair bit of divergence in views. William Hill rate us a 5/6 shot (or 1.83), while Pinnacle go 10/9 (2.11). Shrewd punters all over the world are getting to grips with these lesser known firms such as Pinnacle as their prices on big leagues such as the English Premier League can sometimes be significantly better than the better-known bookies in Ireland and England. For each game this season, a bet on every Bohs game will be suggested, but it won’t always be a “tip” as such – for this one, the draw is taken at 23/10 (Bet365, Boyles, Hills).
Scanning the rest of the Premier Division coupon, the big televised game on Sunday in Limerick sees Cork City visit Thomond Park to face Limerick. The home side are playing under a new highly-rated coach, and Cork have racked up some impressive results in the Setanta Cup against moderate Danske Bank League opposition so this one is hard to call. These are probably two teams on whom you would keep a watching brief for the first few weeks of the season.
Title favourites Shamrock travel to Dundalk where Stephen Kenny and Stephen O’Donnell are sure to improve the Lilywhites compared to last season’s showing. 4/6 the away side does not appeal, nor does the 5/4 on Sligo to win in Derry. Until Danny North is fit, punters should not be in a rush to back Sligo to routinely win away from home.
Shelbourne could struggle this season and they travel to Bray who have Gary Dempsey, Kieran “Marty” Waters, and Jason Byrne helping their cause. Surrounded by hungry youngsters, they will ensure that the Carlisle Grounds is unlikely to yield three easy points to any visiting team, and backing the Seagulls off scratch (0 in the Asian handicap means your money is returned in the event of a draw) at 41/40 with Bet365 is a shortlist bet.
The best bet in the Premier Division is at Richmond Park. Some will argue that Drogheda over-achieved last season, but that coupled with their excellent Setanta Cup form means that Hills’ quote of 5/2 is too big to ignore. Liam Buckley’s St Pat’s team may have to deal with more frustration and more missed opportunities – the story of their brief Setanta Cup campaign. Drogheda have no reason to feel inferior to these opponents and can take the three points.
In the First Division Finn Harps are worthy of attention this season, with a large squad training hard under the guidance of the Donegal GAA fitness coach. Make of that what you will. They will have their backers at 7/2 at Waterford. No-one with any common sense likes to use the word “banker” with a straight face but everyone wants one these days, and this week the heavy hitters will have their cross-hairs on Longford to beat Salthill, who have 4 suspended.
Drogheda, 1pt 5/2 (Hills)
Longford, 2pts 4/9 (Hills, Bet365)