The Longshot: Kenny’s troops look to beat drop

Robert O'Shea: Draw at home will be enough to avoid relegation in Nations League
The Longshot: Kenny’s troops look to beat drop

Conor Coventry and Aaron Connolly after the U21 Championship play-off first leg last Friday. The Galway man was a threat throughout the second half of the game. Ireland are 12/5 to win in Tel Aviv tonight and qualify for the tournament next summer.

OUR football tips for the weekend went awry. We expected Ireland to grab a draw in Hampden and the U21s to take a lead to Tel Aviv tonight, and although both would have been fair enough results considering the performances, it was not to be.

Stephen Kenny’s men now have to beat or draw with Armenia to keep their place in the second tier of the Nations League and although we have recorded just one win our last 10 competitive home fixtures. I expect us to have enough to avenge our defeat in Yerevan in June.

While a total of four points from five games does not read well (it is better than two and three-point final totals achieved by previous managements) our losses have all come by a one-goal margin. Having only lost three times in 13 matches, we can be optimistic they can get over the line against a side that went down 5-0 to Ukraine.

Kenny can also point at least to the fact that he is trying to build a new team. We used seven players aged 23 or younger on Saturday night. In the entire 10-match Euro 2020 qualifying campaign under Mick McCarthy, the only under-23 player who featured was Aaron Connolly, who played a total of 80 minutes.

Connolly was man of the match for the U21s in their home leg at Tallaght last Friday and could have been awarded a penalty for a challenge that looked inside the box and saw Israeli defender Stav Lemkin get a red card for denying a goalscoring opportunity.

Fair to say a penalty and a yellow card might have been a better decision.

The Galway man had a chance in injury time too but his volley from outside the box went just over the top after fine work by Lee O’Connor in the build-up.

The bad news is that Budget coverage has squeezed out space in the schedules for the match to be broadcast, so we’ll have to make do with the RTÉ Player for the 6.15pm kick-off.

Israel have drafted in Celtic’s Liel Abada from the seniors and will be more used to the temperatures — which are forecast to be over 30C.

The hosts are 11/10 to win the game, while Ireland and the draw are both 12/5.

In the senior game, we are fancied to avoid relegation at 1/14 for the double chance of a win or draw, and 1/3 to win.

The draw is 4/1 and Armenia are 10/1 to do the double over us.

Michael Obafemi probably deserved to stay on longer than Troy Parrott after the goal chance he offered up to him on a plate that he squandered and the Swansea man is 5/1 to score first.

No need to shop around when you have these tips

IT’S budget day and the Government will no doubt label it a ‘giveaway’, while the opposition will decide that it is an opportunity lost.

And the majority of readers who follow my tips, judging by those who swear at me in the street, are closer to the grave than the crib, so they they should be getting a boost via a slight pension hike.

If you do get an extra few beans, it is best not to take them to the bookmaker’s counter based on something I’ve written here, as, on occasion, I’ve been known to give dud tips.

But that is usually in the sporting sphere.

Far too few of my readers realise that the area of household budget tips is my true forte. So if you have arrived on the other side of today’s ‘bonanza’ feeling short-changed (I’m especially looking in your direction fellow smokers), then I humbly offer the following.

  • Shop with a grocery list.

Make it more official by typing it up and laminating it. What you spend on the lamination can be saved when you stride past all those two-for-one offers on shampoo.

  • Eat before you shop.

Don’t go shopping on an empty stomach is the golden rule, as you may be tempted to purchase delicious luxury items if your stomach is rumbling, unless you plan on eating the contents of your basket as you traverse the aisles. Stash wrappers on the shelf-space behind laundry detergent products if you do.

  • Coupons, coupons, coupons!

What am I trying to say here? Coupons.

  • Haggle

Always haggle when you are out shopping, unless you are on the self-service aisle at the supermarket.

  • Conserve

What do you do with that little sliver of soap that is now too small to use? You throw it away, don’t you?

Instead, take these soap pieces and put them in a zip-lock bag and store in a dry place. When the bag is full, melt the pieces and pour the mixture into an old butter dish. Place your credit card in the middle of the mixture and let it harden. Cut into rectangles when set and wrap with cling film. Now, shed a few tears that it has come to this. It is also recommended that you cut your credit card into little rectangles.

  • Cut your own hair.

How hard can it be? And if you get good, you could open your own shop. That would give you the opportunity to come up with one of those witty play-on-words salon names, like Shear Hostility, Cuts & Bruises, In No Conditioner To Drive, or Why Won’t You Dye?

  • Cut costs

Eat by candlelight. Not only is it cheaper on electricity, it’s more romantic. Make sure to quench the candle before it becomes romantic enough to cause conditions that might create cash-guzzling offspring.

Ladies drive on in Banner

LAST Friday, your intrepid correspondent made a trip to the fine surroundings of Dromoland Castle for the first Ladies’ Irish Open to be held in 10 years.

No firms were offering odds on the action, so there was no need to mutter swear words under our breath at any of the missed putts.

Instead, we could marvel at the talent on display and, as a bit of a hacker myself, appreciate just how good the approach play is in the professional game.

The field had some big hitters, too. On a good day, I might have a chance of hitting the 268-yard 15th with a driver, so it was really something to see some of the competitors going over the back of it with a four-iron off the tee.

Can McIlroy break duck?

RORY McIlroy seemed to have his name on the British Open this summer (his name was on my docket anyway), before being overtaken by the two Cams on the finishing holes.

He has yet to win at St Andrew’s, but has an opportunity to break his duck at the Dunhill Championships this week. Two rounds will also be played at Carnoustie and Kingsbarns and although 9/2 may seem like a short price, he is three-time runner-up in the tournament and has also finished third. Two-time winner Tyrrell Hatton is a 20/1 chance.

Rolling water

WATERVILLE may be more renowned for golf, but it was Aidan O’Brien’s horse of the same name who caught the eye on Sunday in the Irish Cesarewitch at the Curragh. The son of Camelot may not have delivered on his promise so far this year, but Wayne Lordan scythed through a field of 30 to bring him from last to first after the final bend and nose past Rachael Blackmore, on Echoes in Rain, at the post to deliver a 5/1 win in Europe’s richest flat handicap.

It's worth a watch:

The Bet

We’ll chance a three-timer on the Nations League action tonight.

Iceland and Spain to win away to Albania and Portugal, respectively, and Ireland to see off Armenia, this time at 15/1.

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