Kilkenny v Cork, Saturday, 2pm, Nowlan Park
This game is down as a relegation/play-off but in fact it really isn’t considering both sides will still be in the new format of Division 1. The game basically decided what group they will go into group 1 or group 2. However, in saying that the rivalry with these sides they will still not want to lose.
Kilkenny finished 5th in Division 1b winning two games and losing three from five. The wins coming against Cork and Tipperary, however they suffered losses to Clare, Limerick and Wexford most recently. John Meyler’s Cork finished last in the table. They like Kilkenny played five, lost three and won two. The wins coming against Clare and Limerick, while losses came to Wexford, Kilkenny and then last weekend suffered a hammering to Tipperary.
Speaking to KCLR Radio Kilkenny boss Brian Cody said about this game “Our thoughts are the same as it would have been if we had won the game (against Wexford)” The Kilkenny legend continued “The season kicks in in April and all our preparations obviously are geared towards the first game of the championship”.
Looking at some team news. Cody may opt to give some young players a chance here considering the game is a dead rubber, or he may opt to go hell for leather and start a strong team in preparation for championship. Once again he will be minus the Ballyhale contingent owing to their exploits in the club championship final on Paddy’s Day against St Thomas’ of Galway. However, he will still have players like Paul Murphy, Conor Delaney, Jason Cleere, Conor Fogarty to call on in defence, while in attack Walter Walsh, Richie Leahy, Billy Ryan and Liam Blanchfield may all once again start. Cork manager John Meyler will be very dissapointed with his sides loss last weekend however a backlash could occur, players like Pat Horgan, Aidan Walsh and Tim O’Mahony will be expected to lead the Rebels.
Kilkennu and Cork are both priced at even money here. The draw is 8/1 and may be worth a few quid. Pat Horgan at 2/1 is a nice price to score a goal at any stage.