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I believe we’ve got down to the two best teams in the Championship meeting in this All-Ireland final on Sunday, and this game really is a mouthwatering prospect. Limerick were comprehensive winners over Waterford in the semi-final, While Cork had a huge battle to get over Kilkenny to make it to their first decider since 2013.
The weather could play a huge roll in the result of Sunday’s showpiece. The forecast says there could be showers around the time of the game. Any rain at all would suit Limerick here. From a Cork point of view, if they are to win, everything will have to go right for Kieran Kingston’s men. They are certainly going to need a good start, and they are possibly going to have to score two or three goals to have any chance of taking home Liam MacCarthy.
It’s crucial for The Rebels that they stay in the game and hang on Limerick’s coattails as long as they can. That’s because – as we saw when Limerick met Waterford – if the Treaty County find themselves ahead by six or seven points, they are well able at keeping their opponents at arm’s length on the scoreboard.
Sunday 15:30 – Cork v Limerick
They did exactly that in the Munster semi-final, when these sides played earlier in the Championship. Cork were going well that day, but John Kiely’s boys hit them with two sucker punches just before half-time. Limerick just held them off from there and they really are a top class team.
It will be interesting to see if Shane Kingston starts for Cork after his semi-final heroics. He proved he can be devastating as an impact sub that day though, and we could also see Cork spring Alan Connolly and Alan Cadogan from the bench earlier than usually too. The Rebels do have the finishers in reserve now to win this match, which is something you couldn’t say about them in the past.
But, I just believe this Limerick panel are a winning machine. The more you watch them, the more impressed you are by them. I believe this final is Limerick’s to lose and if they perform on Sunday, they will win this match. They will create history by doing so, by being the first ever Limerick team to win back-to-back All-Ireland’s and it could be a case of how much they win the contest by.
The handicap for this game is currently set at five points and Paddy’s oddsmakers usually seem get these bets spot on when they are setting margins. But, the question heading into Sunday is, can Limerick cover that five-point spread?
I reckon this match will be an awful lot closer than people believe and three to four points is the most I believe Limerick will win by. I may be going for John Kiely’s men to win, but I believe Cork (+5) is the way to go when it comes to the handicap market.
The battle between Jack O’Connor of Cork and Sean Finn of Limerick will be worth the admission price alone on Sunday. You’ve got the most in-form corner forward in the game at the moment against the man who is currently the best corner-back in the sport and it’s a match-up I’m really looking forward to. O’Connor got a great goal in extra time of the semi-final against Kilkenny last time out. I also feel that Patrick Horgan is due a goal as well, so don’t rule him out as an anytime goalscorer.
But, if I have to pin my colours to the mast for anyone to be the first goalscorer this weekend, I’m going to go with Limerick’s Aaron Gillane. He’s coming into this final in a nice place. He was dropped for the Munster final and when he came on that day against Tipperary, he was brilliant (outside of the incident where he should have been sent off).
Waterford’s Conor Prunty may have done excellently marking him the last day out, but Gillane was still the one to get that crucial goal to kill off The Déise. I believe he set perfectly to have a big final, he’s a man for the big occasion and I’m backing him to score the first goal on Sunday.
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