GAA tips: John Mullane’s 2 punchy picks for Kilkenny v Cork on Sunday

The hurling icon has tackled the markets for you as two of hurling’s oldest rivals battle for a place in the decider.

* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

Cork To Win

It’s very hard for me to separate both of these counties and pick a winner. Paddy seems to have it spot on, with them both the same price for victory at the time of writing. But, I’ve been banging the drum about Cork’s value to win the All-Ireland for weeks now – I believe they were 16/1 at one stage to claim Liam MacCarthy.

But, here they are now in a semi-final after good wins over Clare and Dublin. All the talk seems to be that now that The Rebels are back in Croke Park, they have the speed and the energy to get themselves to a final.

However, they are coming up against Kilkenny. Albeit, The Cats don’t have the individual stars that they used to possess. Kilkenny are Kilkenny though, and you know what you are going to get from them. It’s a Brian Cody-lead team, playing in Croke Park and it’s like a second home to them. The Cats have already played twice this year at headquarters, beating Wexford and Dublin to claim the Leinster title. They will be no easy task to overcome.

Sunday 3pm – Kilkenny v Cork
RTÉ 2 / Sky Sports Arena

But, I can’t get a handle on where this Kilkenny side are actually at. I know they had success in Leinster, but when you break down how they managed it, questions arise. They should have been beaten by Wexford, who they finally saw off in extra time in the semi-final. While, Dublin put it up to Cody’s side in the provincial decider for a while, and The Dubs had their panel decimated beforehand with absentees due to a Covid-19 issue in the camp.

Cork hurling is on a high at the moment though, thanks to the successes of their minor and U20 teams, and something is just telling me that the county is in a really good place. There is a feel-good factor down there at the moment, and I believe Kieran Kingston’s men have another gear in them yet. If they can shift into it on Sunday, it should be enough for The Rebels to win this match.

Jack O’Connor To Score The First Goal

From Kilkenny’s point of view, if you are looking for a man to bang in the first goal, TJ Reid will always be the one you’ll hover over. He should be facing up to Robert Downey around the edge of the Cork square. He can then rotate out to the number 11 position if he’s not seeing enough of the ball. Eoin Cody is another worth considering for The Cats, and Billy Ryan might also be the one to find a breakthrough.

On the Cork side of the house, they are creating chances for goals on a regular basis. Patrick Horgan, Shane Kingston and Robbie O’Flynn are the men you’d think about backing for them to raise the first green flag. But, I’m going with a different Cork player to do the business and that’s Jack O’Connor.

I picked him last week to get the first goal, and he was really unlucky not to do so, hitting a post early in the game. But, the wide-open dimensions of Croke Park will suit his lightning speed. He is a flyer, and if he gets any decent ball in front of him and turns the defender, he is absolutely lethal.

John Mullane’s tips summary:

Cork To Win
Jack O’Connor To Score The First Goal



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