With the Ulster and Munster finals played on Wednesday evening and last night respectively, the All-Ireland semi-final line-up in this year’s U21 football championship – is this the final one before it becomes an U20 tournament? I’m having difficulty keeping up with these changes – has now been completed.
It was expected that Tyrone and Kerry would come through this week from Ulster and Munster respectively but both the defending All-Ireland champions and this year’s ante-post favourites were both beaten in their provincial finals. So instead of a Noughties redux clash between the Red Hands and the Kingdom it’ll be Monaghan against Cork in one semi-final, while we, of course, are pitted against Leinster champions Dublin in the other one.
Cork have now replaced Kerry as clear favourites to land the trophy – Paddy Power have priced them at 13/8 to win the thing outright. Dublin and ourselves are bracketed closely enough in the betting – they’re on offer at 5/2 while we stand at 11/4 – and Monaghan are priced as 4/1 outsiders. Full odds here.
Now that the semi-final line-up has been confirmed, and in light of the fact that the penultimate round is down for decision a week tomorrow, we can expect confirmation of the venue pretty soon, perhaps even later on today. TG4 cover both semi-finals live so the practice in recent years has been to play them as a double-header at a provincial venue. Given the discussion we had on here the other day, I’m now pencilling in a run down to Tullamore to catch the action live. Once the match details have been confirmed, I’ll post them here.