It was such a dramatic round of hurling last weekend. Cork managed to stay up despite losing every one of their round robin games, Galway went down despite winning twice and there were three thrilling quarter final games. Now though, the Division 1 title is in the sights of Kilkenny, Waterford, Clare and Limerick. Now, obviously, it’s the two from Division 1A that are the favourites, but I’m tipping a pair of upsets.
Waterford vs Limerick – 2pm – Live on TG4
Limerick are overpriced for me. They went to Dublin, to Parnell Park last Saturday night and beat them. Dublin’s record in Parnell Park stretched back almost a decade which is why I’m surprised people are underestimating the Treaty. They managed to fire in 10 goals and 108 points in division 1B. The standard may have been low but that’s still the highest tally of any side this year.
By contrast, Waterford huffed and puffed before eventually escaping Wexford Park with a one point victory. Their odds are short but I think Paddy Power’s traders may have made a mistake. Waterford have been water tight defensively, not conceding any goals during the league phase.
It’s a 50/50 game which will be quite close. Both sides play with sweepers so it wouldn’t surprise me if there were no goals. However, if there are goals to be got I’d look to Shane Bennett to get one at odds of. He’s young and is the recipient of most of the ball from Waterford’s system. Maybe look at for him to score the first goal. But at odds of, I’m tipping a Limerick victory.
Kilkenny vs Clare – 4pm- Live on TG4
This could be absolutely massive for Davy Fitzgerald and Clare. I think he had a masterstroke by bringing in Donal Óg Cusack as part of the management. It was a huge risk but having seen them play a few times now, it looks to have paid off. A victory here could set them up for a great summer. If you look through their squad there’s a whole host of All-Ireland medals, both senior and underage. There’s a buzz now about Clare hurling.
The problem is that they’re coming up against Kilkenny. You’re pretty much born with an All Ireland hurling medal in Kilkenny. Brian Cody’s now managing full-time after retiring from his principals’ job last year and they looked at their best against Offaly last weekend. 13 of the 16 All Ireland’s since 2000 have gone to Noreside and they’ll want to add an 18th League crown to that.
The condition of the pitch will be a factor in this one. Clare employ a sweeper like their two Munster rivals in the earlier game and we’ve seen Kilkenny struggle when coming up against that kind of play before. If the pitch is cut up from the first game, then it’ll suit the Cats but if it’s flat, then the Banner could rise. John Conlon has been shining for them and his odds of for first goalscorer are very tempting. But go for a Clare win at odds of.