With many of the county championships in the province now completed the attention turns to the provincial series. Let’s take your through the odds and how I expect things to plan out in the province.
Kilkenny champions Ballyhale Shamrocks are the favourites to win the title this season. They have plenty of Kilkenny senior hurlers in their ranks including Colin Fennelly, TJ Reid and former Kilkenny midfielder Michael Fennelly. The Shamrocks men will be tough to stop, they play Westmeath champions Clonkill in the quarter-finals where they will be expected to win. Dublin side Cuala are next in the betting at odds of 6/4. Cuala will play Carlow champions St Mullins in the quarter-finals where they will expected to win and progress to the semi-final stages.
Offaly champions St Rynagh’s are next in the betting at odds of 10/1. St Rynagh’s beat Birr in the Offaly showpiece 0-16 to 1-12. They will face Laois champions Rathdowney-Errill in the quarter-finals. Rathdowney are currently 28/1 to claim the Leinster title. St Martin’s of Wexford are 10/1 to go all the way in Leinster, they overcame St Anne’s in the Wexford county final by a couple of points. They will face the winners of Ballyhale and Clonkill in the semi-final stages.
St Mullins of Carlow are 33/1 to go all the way and claim Leinster title honours. If they are to do so they will have to overcome current club champions Cuala in the quarter-final stages. Clonkill of Westmeath are the outsiders at 80/1, they face an uphill task against Ballyhale in their quarter-final meeting.
My prediction would be for Ballyhale to come out on top in the province this year.