Five times an All Star winner
Ex-Waterford star John Mullane gives his view on the weekend's action
We saw some of the status quo of hurling last weekend as Kilkenny picked up another Leinster Championship trophy. You have to wonder about the ability and mental strength of the Galway players after yet another flop vs the Cats.
But it’s getting to the stage where the big teams start to fall. Dublin went out last weekend to Cork and the Rebels are back this week to make up a 6/1 treble of Cork (-6), Clare (-3) and Waterford (+2) all to cover their handicaps.
This one on paper should only be going one way. Wexford have a very poor record in Thurles over the last few years, they haven’t won in Semple since something like 2008. That’s the opposite of Cork, who usually bring a great crowd and overcame Dublin last week in solid if not spectacular fashion.
That was a must win game and there’s still a lot of pressure on the Rebels. The six point handicap is a lot and I think they’ll be able to cover that. They should kick on to a potential quarter final with Galway.
I’m thinking under 3.5 goals with Seamus Harnedy to open the goalscoring at odds of.
This could be an all time classic. Limerick have been a bit dodgy at senior level over the last couple of years. But if there’s one team that makes them raise their game, it’s Clare. Any time these two meet there’s a fierce rivalry, particularly since Davy Fitz took charge.
I’ve said it from the beginning of the entire season that Clare would be the team that’d cause the most damage in the Championship. They’ve already had three absolute crackers with Waterford and it wouldn’t surprise me if they manage to overcome the Treaty.
Limerick will improve from their under par showing against Westmeath, but Clare put up a HUGE score against Laois and are starting to really motor. The handicap is set at three points and I think Clare can cover it.
Under 3.5 goals is tempting in this one as well when you look at Limerick’s defensive record. If you’re betting on the opening goal you can’t look past Aaron Shanagar for first goalscorer. After all, he got four against Laois.
There’s very little to split these two sides but if you look back over the recent Munster finals, three of the last five have been between Tipperary and Waterford – with Tipp coming out on top in them all.
The Gaelic Grounds is a completely different ground and pitch to Thurles so I’d expect it to be a lot closer than the five point gap from last year’s meeting. Under 2.5 goals is worth a euro or two at.
I think Waterford have arrived. We’ve lost the last four Munster finals with Tipp and this Sunday is when that record breaks. I’m not just saying that because I’m from Waterford, there’s a serious confidence and some lovely hurling coming out of the clubs and that’s transferring to the county team for Derek McGrath.
There’s two key battles. Barry Couglan marking Seamus Callinan and Michael Breen picking up whoever starts in Tipp’s middle. Waterford have the best hurler in the country right now in Austin Gleeson. It’s going to be won and lost in the middle third and if I was to look for first goalscorers it’s either gonna be John McGrath or young Shane Bennett.