The Leinster hurling championship gets underway this weekend with All-Ireland champions Galway travelling to Tullamore to take on Offaly.
A win for Galway will set them on track for a Leinster title, while a loss for Offaly will be tough but they probably are targeting the Wexford and Dublin games as potential games they can win.
Galway had an okay league campaign, they failed to get promoted though from Division 1b but Micheal Donoghue won’t be to fussed. They lost out to Wexford in the quarter final stage and were outplayed for large patches of that game in my opinion. Kevin Martin has instilled believe in Offaly and that was evident from their first league game when they hammered Dublin. The sides meet for the second season in a row, with Galway having won last season by 19 points in last years semi-final. Offaly will be looking for a first win over Galway in the championship since 1994. Galway will be able to call on much of their All-Ireland winning side of 2017 here. Players like Joe Canning, Padraig Mannion, Cathal Mannion, Conor Whelan and Gearoid McInerney to name just a few. Offaly will have the likes of Dermott Shortt, Colin Egan, Joe Bergin and Dan Currams.
They meet for a second successive season, with Galway having won last year’s Leinster semi-final by 19 points in Portlaoise.
LAST FIVE CHAMPIONSHIP MEETINGS
2017: Galway 0-33 Offaly 1-11 (Leinster semi-final)
2016: Galway 2-19 Offaly 2-9 (Leinster semi-final)
2012: Galway 5-23 Offaly 3-15 (Leinster semi-final)
2010: Galway 3-17 Offaly 2-18 (Leinster semi-final replay)
2010: Galway 2-19 Offaly 3-16 (Leinster semi-final)
Galway finished second in 1B (four wins, one defeat) before losing to Wexford in the quarter-finals. Offaly finished third on the table (two wins, three defeats) before losing to Kilkenny in the quarter-finals.
Kevin Martin -.
“We are improving. There’s no doubt about it. The lads have bought into it. We are a long way off the top, we have to get up there. It’s not going to happen all in one season. While we are optimistic we know we have to be realistic as well. We have to keep our feet on the ground. This summer is going to tell a tale. We know what they are capable of doing on the big day, whether they are capable of doing it that’s the next question that has to be answered.
Offaly (Leinster SHC v Galway) – Eoghan Cahill; Tom Spain, Sean Gardiner, Ben Conneely; Damien Egan, Pat Camon, Brendan Murphy; David King, Shane Kinsella; Joe Bergin, Conor Mahon, Oisin Kelly; Dan Currams, Colin Egan, Shane Dooley. Subs: Conor Slevin, Cillian Kiely, Sean Ryan, Paddy Delaney, Tommy Geraghty, David O’Toole Greene, Paddy Murphy, Liam Langton, James Gorman, Dermot Shortt, Paddy Rigney.
Galway (Leinster SHC v Offaly): James Skehill; Adrian Tuohy, Daithi Burke, John Hanbury; Padraig Mannion, Gearoid McInerney, Aidan Harte; Johnny Coen, David Burke; Cathal Mannion, Joe Canning, Joseph Cooney; Conor Whelan, Conor Cooney, Brian Concannon.
In terms of betting for this game, Galway are massive 1/50 to win, Offaly are 12/1 to cause a massive upset. I like the odds of Galway to win by 16 points or more at 9/5 so that is what I would be advising here for our followers to get their teeth sunk into this weekend.
Verdict: Galway by 16 points or more