Kilkenny v Limerick, Saturday, 6 pm, Croke Park
Kilkenny and Limerick in the first All-Ireland Hurling semi-final at Croke Park this Saturday evening. Limerick come into the game as favourites, but you would be foolish to rule out Brian Cody and Kilkenny after their performance against Cork which was outstanding. This will be a physical encounter. The game is live on RTE at 6 pm. If you can’t make it to the game we will have live score updates from the below link.
Kilkenny come into the game on the back of that impressive quarter-final win over Cork two weeks ago. They really impressed me in that game. TJ Reid was outstanding setting up scores and his accuracy from frees was again superb. Any weaknesses the Cats have will be exploited by Limerick so they will need to put in a solid performance for 70 minutes if they are to get the win. Brian Cody will look to Paul Murphy, Huw Lawlor and Padraig Walsh in defence. In attack, TJ Reid, Richie Hogan, and Colin Fennelly will need to be on their game.
Limerick come into the game as reigning League, Munster and All-Ireland Champions. They are the form team and deserving favourites to retain the Liam McCarthy in 2019. John Kiely has a strong panel of players that can be around for another 10 years of challenging for All-Ireland’s so the future is bright for Limerick. Sean Finn, Diarmuid Byrnes and Declan Hannon are some of the best defenders in the game at the minute. Cian Lynch is also having another big year in midfield. In attack, Aaron Gillane, Tom Morrissey, Graeme Mulcahy and Peter Casey will all look to have a big impact in the game.
Previous Championship Meetings
2018 Limerick 0-27 Kilkenny 1-22 (All-Ireland quarter-final)
2017 Kilkenny 0-20 Limerick 0-17 (All-Ireland qualifier)
2014 Kilkenny 2-13 Limerick 0-17 (All-Ireland semi-final)
2012 Kilkenny 4-16 Limerick 1-16 (All-Ireland quarter-final)
2007 Kilkenny 2-19 Limerick 1-15 (All-Ireland Final)
Brian Cody “They were (Limerick) the best team in the country last year because they won the All-Ireland final, but more so now because they followed it up by winning the League and their form the last day was exceptional. They’re everybody’s strong favourites to come out on top, not just the next day, but with eventual honours. It’s a terrific challenge for us.”
John Kiely “Not that I’m complaining, don’t get me wrong. It was lovely to have the last three weeks where we were completely off everyone else’s horizon and everyone else’s radar and it allowed us to go away and do our work nice and quietly.”
Kilkenny (All-Ireland SHC semi-final v Limerick): Eoin Murphy; Paul Murphy, Huw Lawlor, Joey Holden; Conor Fogarty, Padraig Walsh, Paddy Deegan; Conor Browne, Richie Leahy; John Donnelly, TJ Reid, Walter Walsh; Adrian Mullen, Colin Fennelly, Richie Hogan.
Limerick: Nicky Quaid (Effin), Sean Finn (Bruff), Mike Casey (Na Piarsaigh). Richie English (Doon) Diarmuid Byrnes (Patrickswell), Declan Hannon (Adare) (Capt), Dan Morrissey (Ahane), Cian Lynch (Patrickswell), William O’Donoghue (Na Piarsaigh), Gearoid Hegarty (St. Patrick’s), Kyle Hayes (Kildimo/Pallaskenry), Tom Morrissey (Ahane), Aaron Gillane (Patrickswell). Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock). Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh)
Limerick are 8/13 and Kilkenny are 2/1 to win this game. The draw is 8/1. I fancy Limerick to win this game by four or five points. Therefore backing Limerick -3 at 11/10 looks a good bet.