Waterford to beat Cork – 7/4
Cork: The Cork hurlers have arguably been the story of the 2017 championship, as shock winners of the Munster Championship, and they will be hoping to reach their first All-Ireland final since 2013.
The attacking trio of Conor Lehane, Alan Cadogan and Patrick Horgan have been the stars for Cork up-front, while they were rock-solid in defence in the Munster Final – conceding just one goal to a Clare forward line that scored three goals in each of their other two championship encounters.
Waterford: Waterford have taken the scenic route to this stage, but they have been very impressive since their Munster semi-final defeat at the hands of Sunday’s opponents – picking up wins over Offaly, Kilkenny and Wexford.
Kevin Moran was the star of their quarter-final win, finishing with 1-2 from play, and even though Austin Gleeson seemed quiet, he still finished with 3 points and won numerous frees for Pauric Mahony. Croke Park will suit this Waterford team, who thrive on open spaces, and expect their top names to perform.
Verdict: Cork ran out surprise victors in the Munster semi-final meeting between these two, and while it has taken Waterford a lot longer to reach this stage, they have been improved along the way.
An extra time win over Kilkenny, and a comprehensive performance against Wexford has shown that this Waterford team are ready to go at least one step further in 2017, making up for two semi-final exits in the past two years.
Cork have exceeded expectations in this year’s Championship, but Déise have travelled a far harder path and their battle hardened outfit can take their place in the All-Ireland Final.
Under 2.5 Goals – 11/8
Munster Champions Cork have averaged one goal per game in this years’ Championship, and while Waterford have seven in four games, four of those came in that extra time win over Kilkenny.
So you canexpect both teams to be tight in defence again come Sunday. With both teams well able to take scores from distance, under 2.5 match goals looks like the value play.
Austin Gleeson to be man of the match – 7/1
Austin Gleeson was well marshalled throughout the quarter-final win over Wexford, but he still finished with a trio of points from play and won numerous frees, that ultimately led to Wexford’s demise.
The Déise’s strength throughout the forward line means man-marking Gleeson leaves the rest of the defence under huge pressure, so we believe Gleeson will be allowed more space on Sunday.
There’s numerous examples of Gleeson’s ability to drop back in defence, take scores from distance and make big plays at key times. He can shine on Sunday in Croke Park and pick up the RTE man of the match award.
* All odds correct at time of posting.