This game is being billed as an opportunity for Dublin to gain a measure of revenge over Laois after what happened in last year’s meeting between the pair. It was a shock win for Laois and there were incredible scenes in Portlaoise after the game. You have to give massive kudos to Eddie Brennan and his management team for how Laois kicked on since they came in and they were the story of the Championship last season.
The sides met in the National League this year with Dublin running out seven-point winners and that’s where Paddy has set the handicap for this one. The match is fixed for Croke Park, and if the game was being held in Parnell Park or Portlaoise I’d give more of a chance to Laois, but the wide spaces of headquarters will suit this Dubs side.
Laois have some really good players too though, and if Dublin aren’t at the pitch of the game on Saturday evening, they could get turned over again. But, Matt Kenny will have Dublin on their guard after what happened last year and I expect Dublin to win this match.
I don’t believe the Dubs will match or better their seven-point winning margin from the League though, it’s tough to do that with the conditions at this time of year. Laois have been going well in challenge games, so they should keep the game tight enough. I really like the odds available for Dublin to win the contest by 4-6 points.
This is my nap of the weekend. Clare might be rank outsiders, but the handicap is very generous. The Banner do have their problems though, they are missing Podge Collins, Peter Duggan and Colm Galvin from last year’s team. But, they still have an awful lot of good personnel when you go through their squad – Tony Kelly, David McInerney and Shane O’Donnell to name just a few.
Limerick have their injury problems in the inside back line with Mike Casey missing and Richie English a serious doubt, that’s a big blow to a key line of the field. John Kiely’s men will still be in a lot of people’s lips to push on and win the All-Ireland given their physicality though.
Don’t forget this game doubles as the National Hurling League final, so there is a trophy on offer on Sunday as well. There’s a lot of talk about Limerick v Tipperary happening the following week and that is a bit disrespectful to Clare’s chances here. After all, Clare beat Limerick in Ennis two years ago and a Brian Lohan-coached team won’t roll over for anybody.
A six-point handicap is high with the conditions this time of year and don’t forget, Limerick will not have their huge fanbase in Thurles to cheer them on either. If Clare can bring their National League form into the game, then this will be a lot closer than people think and The Banner County should cover the handicap.
* All odds correct at time of first publishing but may change. Prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget.
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