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I don’t want to disrespect Westmeath, but if Galway are being talked about as Limerick’s biggest challengers for the All-Ireland than they should be able to cover this 13-point handicap in Mullingar. Shane O’Neill will be keen for The Tribesmen to lay down a marker early, and I fear The Lake County could be the victims of that.
Dublin will not fear Kilkenny one bit going into this. The simple reason being they were 16 points down at one stage of their Championship game against The Cats last year and they should have won it in the end after a remarkable comeback. The Dubs have to be encouraged by that performance.
Kilkenny are not the Kilkenny side of old, the fear of them is gone from their opponents these days. If Dublin can curtail TJ Reid – I’m sure they are going to use Eoghan O’Donnell to mark him – that will be a huge help to their cause. Dublin also have a great record in home games at Parnell Park, teams just don’t like going there. I hated the place!
The Dubs have the players in the forwards to hurt Brian Cody’s outfit and if they can keep a lid on Kilkenny in their defence, I’d give them a huge chance of winning this opener. The first game back can often throw up funny results and if there is going to be a shock this weekend, I reckon it will be The Dubs that cause it. The value is certainly in backing them.
This match was also the first game for both teams in 2020 and Limerick found themselves 10 points down at half-time, but they came back to win and they never looked back, finishing the season unbeaten. The Treaty County just seem to have the Indian sign over Tipperary in the last few years and they’ve won the last two meetings against them.
From a Tipp point of view, I’m sure Liam Sheedy will be anxious to see his team put in a good performance and try to get a win that they can use as motivation if these sides meet again in the Championship. On the flip side, John Kiely would just prefer Limerick to keep their winning run going. They won’t want to give Tipperary a glimmer of hope going into the Championship.
With all due respect to the rest of the counties in the All-Ireland, I believe Limerick are a margin of six or seven points better than all the other top teams chasing them. Limerick should win this game and they should cover the (-4) handicap on offer too. I fancy Kiely’s boys to be really at it on Saturday night and see off Tipp with five or six points to spare even.