Potentially the clash of the summer
So we could hardly go a weekend without ringing up three time Waterford All Star John Mullane for his verdict
We saw a dominant performance in the Munster Championship and three hugely entertaining matches in Croke Park with the Lory Meagher, Nicky Rackard and Christy Ring cup finals. But the focus now is back onto the Leinster Championship and what could be an entertaining tussle in Portlaoise between Dublin and Kilkenny.
The Dubs were really impressive in disposing of Wexford in Croke Park a couple of weekends ago and I think Ger Cunnigham will be a bit disappointed that this game against Kilkenny has been switched to O’Moore Park. Whereas Croker is a big wide pitch which is fantastic for direct ball and the fast, athletic Dublin players.
O’Moore Park on the other hand is tighter. It’s narrow, the crowd are very close to the pitch and it’ll suit Kilkenny more than it will Dublin. Cunningham will need David Treacy to put in a repeat of his 0-08 haul against Wexford if the Dubs want a chance.
They must limit Kilkenny to just points in the first half. If they let in a goal, I could see Kilkenny sticking a few more into the net.
Kilkenny won the league meeting between the two by six points but in reality it could’ve been a lot more going by all reports. Even though they play more games in Croke Park these days, Kilkenny will relish playing in O’Moore Park because the pitch size and structure of the ground is very similar to that of their home ground Nowlan Park.
You can see from Brian Cody’s team selection that he’s banking on his players up front. Obviously to lose Richie Power is massive but such is the conveyor belt of quality Noreside that Colin Fennelly and TJ Reid will pick up the slack.
It was O’Moore Park where the Dubs clipped the Cats after a replay in the Leinster semi final in 2013. I’d be surprised if it goes that far again.
TJ Reid got 11 of Kilkenny’s 0-23 when they beat Dublin in the league and you have to look at his odds of to score a goal anytime. In terms of first goalscorer there’s a couple of names that stick out on both sides. Treacy and Eamon Dillon are probably Dublin’s best hopes, but I’d be going for Fennelly at odds of.
I think Dublin will put up a real fight against the All Ireland champions, but when you’ve a manager that’s taken his side to seven of the last 10 Leinster titles, it’s very hard to not back Kilkenny. Go for a Kilkenny victory, but Dublin to cover the five point handicap