Gosh it’s been a while eh? Apologies for being absent the past few months, College unfortunately has been quite hectic and I’ve been busy with other ventures too. I am going to try to contribute to this website as much as I can over the next while. After all. We’re in the GAA busy season.
The first post is a little bit different from previous ones…because it wasn’t written by me. A very talented GAA writer asked me could he contribute a piece to the site so you will be getting an opinion which is not my own for a change. His predictions are bold and surprising so grab yourself a cup of tea and enjoy!
FASCINATING WEEKEND IN STORE
This weekend promises to build on last week’s exciting fare with an enticing double-header in Thurles and a fascinating Munster Hurling Final in store.
A brief note on last weekend first. Cork and Dublin served up a high-scoring treat on Saturday night, with the home side winning by 1-26 to 1-23. Had Dublin not been hampered by both injuries before the match – Dotsy a big loss in particular –
and then even more calamitous for them, a first-half sending-off in Chris Crummey, they could have taken the spoils. Cork did look sharp enough in attack, particularly Alan Cadogan and also Pat Horgan, but their concession rate is still too high – 1-45 in their two games now to date – if they are to make a really serious imprint on this championship.
The Leinster Final was nearly an exact replica of last year’s All-Ireland Final with Galway hurling up a storm in the first-half and leading by three at the break though Kilkenny did miss a couple of goal chances while also scoring three of the last four points to
finish the half strongly. Kilkenny’s changes at half-time proved hugely significant with John Power and particularly Richie Hogan playing a major part, contributing six points between them. The goal was also an important turning point, a psychological blow to Galway, who may feel they should have defended it better.
Cork and Wexford do battle in Thurles in the first of the qualifiers, and both
are in a better place following last weekend’s victories. Cork have more scoring power up front though Wexford will feel that the likes of Conor McDonald and Paul Morris can provide a stiff test of the Cork inside line. In what should be a high-scoring affair, the Rebels can prevail by four or five points.
Clare and Limerick lock horns in the second qualifier, a local derby which promises to be a tense and spicy affair. The Banner beat their neighbours in Ennis in the last round of the League to clinch promotion to the top tier though were benefitted by a controversial early John Conlon goal and the sending off of Barry Nash. Still, their form has been more even and consistent than Limerick with only one defeat overall this season. Limerick were comfortably beaten by Tipperary in the Munster semi, despite the official margin been only two points, while they eventually overcame a stubborn Westmeath challenge last weekend, coming from a point down at half-time to win by nine points. I tip Clare to make amends for last year’s Munster quarter-final defeat to their neighbours and edge home by four points.
Tipp and Waterford meet for the second consecutive test in the premier showpiece down South and the two teams are closely marched based on their meetings over the last two seasons with two League wins for the Deise, last year’s semi-final and a one-point win in Thurles last March while Tipp won a scrappy tactical Munster Final last year by five points.
This year, the teams meet on neutral ground which should further aid Waterford’s cause.
The loss of Bubbles Dwyer could be pivotal for Tipp as he was man of the match in last year’s decider though Daragh Fives will also be a loss for the challengers. This really is a toss of a coin job, and a first draw in this year’s championship could be very much in the cards.
However, I think Waterford’s belief and confidence has risen again this season and added to an increased depth to their panel now they are taken to shade matters by two points and win their first Munster title in six years.
Richard Holden. (@kirstyboy)