Saturday, Wexford v Kilkenny: Wexford to win – 7/4
This weekend is a hurling lover’s dream as we head into the final week of the round-robin system in both Munster and Leinster with places in the provincial finals, All-Ireland series qualification and Championship elimination all on the line.
What more could you ask for? And, if you like your hurling physical, you’ll love what’s coming down in Wexford Park as Davy Fitzgerald welcomes Brian Cody’s Kilkenny Cats, who enter the contest on the back of a blood and thunder affair with Galway last weekend.
Kilkenny suffered an ultra-rare Championship defeat there, but when you take into account that it was only a single point and that they ended the game with 13 men on the field, Cody’s charges are not in a bad place heading into this one.
However, you’d have to believe that when the fixtures were announced earlier in the year that Davy Fitz had this one circled in the biggest red circle you could imagine and he’d love nothing more than to get one over Cody and co. The Yellowbellies – along with Tipperary and Galway – are also one of only three teams left in Championship with an undefeated record and they’ll want to defend it on Saturday night.
The margins have been slim between these two in recent times and Kilkenny escaped Nowlan Park with a one-point win in last year’s Championship.
However, Wexford are very tough to beat on home turf, as the Cats found out in 2017, and we’re going to go with Davy Fitz’s men to take this one, but there may only be a puck of a ball in it.
Saturday, Dublin v Galway: Galway (-2) – Evens
Poor Dublin may end up being the hard-luck story of the 2019 Championship when all is said and done. Mattie Kenny’s men could well be on six points in the table heading into this weekend’s tie with Galway if not for second-half collapses against Kilkenny and Wexford.
The Dubs chose to send a late first-half penalty over the bar to lead by four points at the break and were left to rue that decision against the Cats, while they also let a five-point second-half lead slip to Wexford at Parnell Park and needed a last-minute Sean Moran goal to salvage a draw in that one.
Galway, meanwhile, came roaring back into the Championship last weekend with that win in Kilkenny. After appearing in the last two All-Ireland finals, it was a surprise to see the Tribesmen written off as underdogs heading into the tie – but they soon answered that one, didn’t they?
Micheál Donoghue’s side have beaten Dublin in their last two meetings and even without the soon-to-be-returning Joe Canning, we can’t see a resurgent Galway losing this one either. They should make it three victories in-a-row on Saturday evening and we reckon they’ll have a bit to spare too.
Sunday, Clare v Cork: Cork to win – 3/10
What has happened to Clare in recent weeks? 13 and 18-point hammerings by Tipperary and Limerick respectively have left the Banner County’s Championship hopes hanging by a thread with Cork on the way to Cusack Park on Sunday.
All seemed rosy in the garden for joint-managers Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor after an opening day one-point success in Walsh Park, but what happened to Waterford after that showed Clare’s form to be worrying and so it proved, as they suffered humiliating defeats in their next two outings.
That has left them needing snookers on Sunday, as they required a win on Sunday coupled with a Limerick victory in Thurles to realistically progress in this year’s Championship. Cork for their part know a result of any kind will see them qualify for the All-Ireland series, but they’ll want a win to give them a shot at a third Munster title in as many years.
John Meyler’s men had a stroll in Páirc Uí Chaoimh last time out, seeing off Waterford at their ease by 13 points and also have the luxury of an extra day’s rest in the build-up to this game. It’s true Cusack Park is a tough place to go, but we can’t see Clare being disciplined enough not to foul this nippy Cork forward line on numerous occasion and that’s where Patrick Horgan comes into play.
The Rebels talisman already has 2-33 to his name in this season’s Championship and his accuracy from dead balls is the stuff of legend at this stage.
Cork may not be fully solid at the back, but they have way too much firepower for the Banner in this one and we’re tipping them to dump Clare out with an away triumph here.
Sunday, Tipperary v Limerick: Tipperary to win – Evens
What a game this one is, as the top two in the betting for the All-Ireland title go head-to-head in Semple Stadium.
Last year’s champions Limerick have rediscovered the form that took them to that historic title last season after an opening day shock to Cork and head into this Titanic-sized battle with Tipperary looking to inflict a first Championship defeat of the season on Liam Sheedy’s men.
Tipperary have battered all in front of them, seeing off Cork, Waterford and Clare by wide margins, but you’d suspect this one could be much closer on Sunday. Sheedy will want his side to send out a message on Sunday and what better way than to beat the All-Ireland champions?
The Premier County have the backs to match the electric movement of John Kiely’s men and with the Tipp forwards on razor-sharp form and home advantage in their back pocket, we reckon the team in blue and gold will just about edge this one.
* All odds correct at time of posting and may vary up to throw-in.