Limerick V Kilkenny 6:00pm 27th July
Casual hurling fans may find it strange to see Limerick as such strong favourites against Kilkenny, a team which under the management of Brian Cody, have won 10 All Ireland championships since the turn of the century. This is the new reality for Kilkenny, as they attempt to make it back to their first final since 2016 and win their first All Ireland since 2015. Although they still have excellent individuals such as TJ Reid, they are not the force of old.
They appeared to take a resurgent Wexford too lightly in the Leinster final, and although the same could be said for Cork’s attitude against them in the quarter final, Kilkenny were much shrewder that day, with glimpses of their ruthless best on show.
Reigning champions limerick are hot favourites to retain their title this year after brushing aside Tipperary in Munster and the occasion is unlikely to be too big for them this evening. Take Limerick to progress in 70 minutes at 4/7 with Toals Bookmakers.
Tipperary V Wexford 3:30pm 28th July
There is no doubting Tipperary’s ability. As a team they probably have the highest ceiling of any left in this year’s championship. When they are good, they are excellent. Their difficulties arise when they are drawn into a battle, particularly a physical one, which is partly what happened in their defeat to Limerick in the Munster final.
The hope in Wexford is that under the management of Davy Fitzgerald, they will be able to bring enough physicality, particularly through the centre where Tipp are considered vunerable, to cause the premier county trouble.
Wexford were able to do that against Kilkenny in the Leinster final, but that is a rivalry of a different magnitude, and this task will require more brains than brawn. It is likely that intensity alone won’t be enough over 70 minutes, and class should eventually come to the fore.
When Tipperary win they usually do it in style, so take them –3 points in the handicap market at 10/11 with Toals Bookmakers.
Mixed sport weekend special:
Enable (Ascot 3:40), Tipperary, Limerick – 3/1