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There is a reason that the betting is finding it very hard to split Tipperary and Galway in this All-Ireland quarter-final, that’s because in the last three Championship meetings between the counties (2015, 2016 and 2017) only one point separated them (two wins for Galway, one for Tipperary). With the exception of a handful of players, Saturday will feature the pretty much the same personnel taking to the field at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick, and that’s probably why the market is the way it is.
The teams come into this with contrasting emotions after last weekend’s games. Tipp boss Liam Sheedy was clearly delighted that his charges got over the line against Cork, you could see it in his reaction at the end of the match. On the flip side, Galway’s manager Shane O’Neill will be thoroughly disappointed that his men couldn’t see their game against Kilkenny in the Leinster final through, after being in control of it for long periods.
I was at the Tipperary v Cork game in my media work and I must confess that I wasn’t very impressed with the Premier County that day. You saw both McGraths (John and Noel) taken off, which is highly unusually for Tipperary to do and they need both brothers firing to beat Galway. Shane O’Neill will also have work on their hands though to pick up his Galway panel, who will feel they should have had another medal in their back pocket after last Saturday.
However, if Galway can bring to the table against Tipperary what they did to Kilkenny for 60 minutes last week, that should be enough to get them over the line here. Galway have the power, they have the strength, they’ve got the scores and the skillset to punish the defending All-Ireland champions in this game and the Tribesmen should advance with a few points to spare to the All-Ireland semi-final.
The fact that they are odds-on favourites is dangerous for Waterford. It’s probably because of the performance they put up last weekend, albeit in a losing effort in the Munster final against Limerick. This will be a different type of pressure on Liam Cahill’s men, as they are favourites now compared to their last two outings where they were heavy underdogs.
Clare will have momentum with them after seeing off Wexford last weekend and they have Tony Kelly in a rich run of form, as he’s on course to win the Hurler of the Year award. Although many people are suggesting that The Banner are a one man show, but they are far from that for me. Clare have talent all over the field and they’ve got plenty of players who can trouble Waterford.
This will be Clare’s fourth weekend playing in-a-row though, and I’ll be interested to see how their bodies hold up in the current heavy conditions. For Cahill, it will be a case of picking his Déise side up a small bit after last weekend’s defeat, but I reckon they will be pleased to have drawn Clare. I just feel if Waterford can reproduce their efforts of last Sunday and put the shackles a bit on Tony Kelly, they should be good enough to win here with a little bit in hand.
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