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This will probably be the must talked about game of the weekend, as it features Davy Fitzgerald returning to his native county to face off with Brian Lohan on the sideline. There has been a lot of bad press coming out about Clare on the administrative side of things over the winter.
Davy will have his Wexford boys up for this game as it was well documented that he was abused from the stands last season by one of the Clare mentors. Wexford experimented with their team in the National League last season, but I don’t expect to see any rotation from them here and we should see their strongest available XV on the pitch on Sunday.
Clare, for their part, are fighting for their pride now after being shocked by Antrim. It was a poor result in a game they were expected to win well, but you have to give all the credit to Antrim for upsetting the odds. Of the two teams, I believe it was Clare who had the tougher game last weekend and The Banner County were made to fight to the very end. Wexford beat Laois handily, and they were pulling up at the end of the match.
That hard, competitive game (even though they lost it) should stand to Clare going into Sunday and when you factor in how hard it is to get a result at Cusack Park in Ennis, you can see where I’m leaning here. Clare’s backs are to the wall now, and they usually come out fighting in that situation. That’s why I’m going for a home win in this game.
As I mentioned above, I liked what I saw from Antrim last weekend. People will be asking if they can back up that stunning victory over Clare, and there is no greater test of that then travelling into the lions den to play Kilkenny at Nowlan Park.
I believe they can live up to the hype though, as The Saffrons really have some lovely hurlers. Kilkenny should win the game, but Antrim are good enough bring up the (+12) handicap and that’s my tip here.
This contest is going to be a cracker, I’m delighted I get to go to it as a pundit and I’m really looking forward to the game. Galway scored a massive 5-34 against Westmeath last weekend and even though they scored that against poor opposition, you have to take notice of a team that racks up a total like that.
The style in which they played was really impressive too and they did all that without Joe Canning. The Tribesman have the firepower in their ranks to rattle this Limerick team. But, the question is, can they shut out John Kiely’s men in defence?
I reckon Kiely will field as close to his best XV as he can get to on Sunday and you could see 11 or 12 of his 2020 All-Ireland final starters begin the game here. For a long time now, Galway have been talked about as the team best equipped to beat Limerick and this game could have a big baring on what happens in the Championship in a few weeks time, for whoever wins.
Limerick weren’t fully at the pitch of the game last week and struggled against Tipperary’s defensive style, I believe Galway may try to play them the same way here. Shane O’Neill’s side may leave the Treaty County backs have the puck out and close them down from there, it’s just going to be a fascinating tactical battle! We are certainly going to be treated to an awful lot of physicality in Salthill, that’s for sure.
Limerick haven’t been beaten since August 2019 and John Kiely will be anxious to keep that run going. That’s why Limerick just get the vote from me to win this one.
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