Kilkenny (+3) – 5/6
Write Kilkenny off at your peril. Many anticipate that reigning All-Ireland champions Limerick have essentially already booked their place in the final, and odds as short as 8/15 reflect that.
However, Kilkenny showed in the second half against Cork that they are serious contenders for a first All-Ireland since 2015. The Cats outscored Cork by 1-16 to 1-08 in the second half in a typically devastating display of ruthless efficiency.
Most had expected Cork to prevail and it casts serious doubts over the claims from many experts that Munster has been streets ahead of Leinster in terms of quality this season.
Limerick stuttered through Munster, losing to Cork and Tipperary before finally clicking into gear in the provincial final to reserves the Tipperary result.
They pipped Kilkenny in last year’s quarter-final, producing a barnstorming final five minutes to outscore Kilkenny by 0-05 to 0-01 and claim a highly dramatic two-point victory. However, they should have been out of sight long before that and, but for Eoin Murphy’s heroics, they would have been.
That two-point win was indicative of Kilkenny’s refusal to go away and Saturday could prove similar.
Over 53.5 points – 5/6
Kilkenny have hit outrageously high scores against everyone they’ve faced, apart from a miserly Wexford side on two occasions. In fact, despite scoring just 21 and 23 points in their two games against Wexford, Kilkenny still boast an average of 27.5 points per game in this year’s Championship.
Similarly, Limerick can point to an average of 27.2 points per game despite poor returns against both Cork and Tipperary in the round-robin, which saw them hit just 22 and 21 points respectively.
Both sides are capable of racking up huge scores on their day and that should lead to a high-scoring affair, especially if this game is to go down to the wire.
TJ Reid to score a goal anytime – 13/8
Alright, so picking TJ Reid to find the back of the net might not be the most inventive of bets in the world, but it also represents the most logical of bets.
The Ballyhale forward is one of the finest players of his era and consistently performs week-in, week-out for one of the weakest Kilkenny sides since the turn of the century.
From six matches, Reid has hit a staggering 5-64 and only Cork’s Patrick Horgan can boast a more impressive record. Reid averages over 13 points a game, and his five goals in the Leinster Championship were largely responsible for Kilkenny’s place in the provincial final at Dublin and Galway’s expense.
His 2-12 against Dublin and 2-11 against Galway both proved decisive in terms of points difference and overall points in the tightest of Leinster Championships, and Kilkenny will look to him to lead the way as the game enters the final stages on Saturday night.
Reid’s chances of raising a green flag on Saturday are even more greatly bolstered by the fact that he is an accomplished penalty taker, and he is by far the most obvious pick in the Kilkenny starting XV.
* All odds correct at time of posting.