After a first exciting summer of the round robin series in Munster and Leinster there are just 3 games left now to decide who will be All-Ireland Champions for 2018, four teams Cork, Limerick, Clare and Galway all have their eyes on bringing Liam McCarthy home to their respective county’s. This preview will focus on the Cork v Limerick semi-final which is due to throw in at 3.30pm on Sunday afternoon in Croke Park.
Looking at the game itself now beginning with Limerick. Limerick are a youthful side but they have some experienced players as well. They played six games so far in this year’s championship, with 4 obviously coming in the Munster. They finished third in the group standings behind Cork and Clare who qualified automatically. The third placed finish meant Limerick had to endure a quarter final with Kilkenny, they were full worthy of their win in that game by 0-27 to 1-22. John Kiely has exceptional players at his disposal. Players like Cian Lynch, Tom Morrissey, Dan Morrissey and Aaron Gillane are all thriving with confidence right now, in defence Declan Hannon, Richie English and Mick Casey are having good years. If these players all step up to the plate on Sunday in what is expected to be a 70,000 plus crowd at GAA Headquarters they won’t be far away.
John Meyler leads his Cork side into this game after a successful campaign in Munster. His side played 5 games, winning three and drawing two. Indeed they drew with Limerick ! They qualified automatically for the semi-final stages having placed in the first two in the round robin group. Their most recent game was a win over Waterford. John Meyler has blended his side with youth and experience, Darragh Fitzgibbon, Shane Kingston and Mark Coleman are all outstanding hurlers, while the more experienced players of Pat Horgan, Seamus Harnedy and Conor Lehane are also all in fine form coming into this crucial game. If that trio put in massive performances it will be very hard for Limerick.
The teams are yet to be announced
LAST FIVE CHAMPIONSHIP MEETINGS
2018 Cork 1-25 Limerick 0-28 (Munster round robin)
2014 Cork 2-24 Limerick 0-24 (Munster final)
2013 Limerick 0-24 Cork 0-15 (Munster final)
2010 Cork 2-19 Limerick 0-12 (Munster semi-final)
2006 Cork 0-19 Limerick 0-18 (Munster quarter-final)
The sides meet for the second time this summer having played out a draw earlier this championship campaign in the round robin. This will be their first meeting in an All-Ireland semi-final. Cork are in a semi-final for the second year in a row. they lost to Waterford last year in it. It is Limerick’s first semi-final since 2014 where they lost out to Brian Cody’s Kilkenny. Tom Morrissey is Limerick’s top scorer with 0-25 (0-05f), while Cork’s top scorer is Patrick Horgan with 1-42 ( 0-25f, 0-03 from 65’s).
This is to close to call according to the bookmakers odds. Cork are priced at 10/11 and Limerick also are 10/11 with the draw representing value at 9/1. Personally I think Cork will sneak it, they have the better forwards in my opinion. I would go with the winning margin betting of Cork to win by 1-3 points at odds of 7/2. I also like Seamus Harnedy to grab a goal anytime at 6/4 that is value in my eyes. Looking at man of the match markets, Darragh Fitzgibbon for me at 14/1. He loves Croke Park going on last years performance so would go with him.