The first of the weekends All-Ireland Hurling semi-final takes place on Saturday between Kilkenny and Limerick at Croke Park with a 6 pm throw-in. I expect this game to be physical, end to end and high scoring. With that in mind lets take a look at the 5 key battles where the game will be won and lost.
1. Huw Lawlor (Kilkenny) v Graeme Mulcahy (Limerick) – This is a crucial match up. Lawlor will need a massive performance here if he gets that performance and limits Mulcahy to two points or so it will go a long way deciding the outcome of the game. Mulcahy has been one of Limerick’s best players over the last number of year. When he hits form he is hard to stop.
2. Padraig Walsh (Kilkenny) v Kyle Hayes (Limerick) – This is a key battle in the win and losing of the game in my opinion. Walsh has been terrific for Kilkenny this year and a massive performance here and he is surely going to get an all-star award. Kyle Hayes is a consistent player, always give 100% to. This will be a big battle and one I can’t wait for.
3. Sean Finn (Limerick) v TJ Reid (Kilkenny) – Not quite sure if Sean Finn will mark Reid but I think he will. Finn is a tenacious defender and that is what you need at inter-county level and especially against Kilkenny. We all know the damage TJ Reid can do, he won numerous frees against Cork in the quarter-final and set u numerous scores.
4. Mike Casey (Limerick) v Colin Fennelly (Kilkenny) – This will be another massive battle, Both players are physical and both will not want to give an upper-hand. I expect a fierce battle. Casey will have his hands full against the Ballyhale man as he tends to run straight for the goals and that can be hard to stop.
5. Cian Lynch (Limerick) v Conor Fogarty (Kilkenny) – This could be the battle of the game. Both players have the skill, speed and power. Lynch has an impressive eye for the perfect pass, Fogarty is adaptable and can play at wing-back, corner back or midfield. Expect two big performances.