Clare and Waterford collide again
So we rang up John Mullane to see if lightning could strike twice
Cork and Tipperary kicked off the Munster hurling championship a couple of Sundays ago and it wasn’t the best game but we’ve a big weekend of hurling between the Christy Ring final, Galway’s entry into the race for Liam McCarthy and a massive game in Thurles with the repeat of the Allianz League final.
Antrim vs Meath- Christy Ring Cup final – Saturday 5.30 (TG4)
This is a huge game for both counties in the long term.
Meath are going through a transition period in the football championships so it looks like they’re just starting to put a bit more thought into the hurling code. They came out on top against Kildare and that was a big monkey off their backs because Kildare have beaten Meath a few times over the last five years.
Antrim were very lucky against Down in Loughiel, they needed all of the 70 minutes to dispatch of them, They’ll be very anxious to get back up to the top tier of hurling for 2017. From the offset, they were massive favourites to win this competition and are justifiably favourites for this game. It’s a final, anything can happen, but I think Antrim will win.
Mystic Mullane says: Meath to cover the handicap at
Laois vs Offaly – Sunday 3.30
If you go back three of four weeks you’ll see Offaly hurling was in a bad state. They were given a beating by Westmeath up in Mullingar but recovered well to end Kerry’s fairytale last weekend.
Laois beat Westmeath in the playoff of the Allianz League so they know that they’ve the quality to get past the Faithful as well. And I fully expect them to to set up a semi final meeting with either Galway or Westmeath.
Mystic Mullane says: Back a Laois win at
Westmeath vs Galway – Sunday 3.30
Westmeath finished top of the round robin series but drew the short end of the stick by getting Galway as a reward. They did win all three games during the round robin and their under 21’s shocked the GAA world when they toppled Kilkenny during the week at home.
This one could be interesting depending on which Galway show up. The players have been complaining about not getting a ‘home draw‘ since they moved to the Leinster Championship eight years ago. They’re coming off a relegation from Division 1A so there’ll either be a backlash from that result, or a further embarassment.
Mystic Mullane says: Westmeath will cover the handicap at
Clare vs Waterford – Sunday 4.00 (RTE)
This one is all teed up to be another sensational game of hurling. We saw them do battle not once but twice in the Allianz League final with Clare controversially coming out on top thanks to a late free. But that was League and this is Championship now.
The betting can’t split them. Waterford were possibly the better team in the league replay. It’s so hard to predict a winner, but with Pauric Mahony returning for Waterford it’s a huge boost for Derek McGrath. The Deise can sometimes struggle without Mahony on the pitch and he acts as a leader when he does play.
Clare have got John Conlon coming back in and he’s likely to start in the full forward line. Plus, after 160 minutes of hurling it was Davy Fitz and Clare that came out on top. After doing all the hard work to get to the final and force the replay, Waterford came away with nothing so that’s something that Clare hold over Waterford mentally.
Clare have only won four times in 15 years in Munster. Waterford are looking for revenge again. The Banner may have the slight advantage psychologically but it would not surprise me at all to see this one go down to the wire again
Mystic Mullane says: Draw