Kilkenny v Galway, Sunday, 2 pm, Nowlan Park
The RTE cameras will be in Nowlan Park for the meeting of Kilkenny and Galway in the Leinster hurling championship round-robin game on Sunday. The game throws in at 2 pm. A win here for Kilkenny will almost certainly secure a Leinster Final spot going into the last game with Wexford, as the Cats have already beaten Dublin and Carlow. Micheal Donoghue’s men will be looking for a win or if not they will have to get a result against Dublin in their final game, they beat Carlow and drew with Wexford in the two previous rounds.
Brian Cody’s charges have been hitting form even without some regulars who have been missing through injury. However, for this game, several of the players are reported to be back training including Cillian Buckley, Conor Delaney, and Richie Hogan. Nowlan Park is a difficult place to win no matter what Kilkenny side is on the field. It’s like a cauldron they hate losing at home. Nothing but a win will be good enough for Brian Cody for sure.
Galway come into the game after beating Carlow, however, they were far from impressive in that game. They then drew with Wexford in a game they could have lost in the end despite been 5 points up at one stage. A win will be required here because if they slip up they face a massive game with Dublin in the final round which may determine if they will be in a Leinster Final or not.
This will be Brian Cody’s 19th time on the sidelines facing Galway in championship hurling. He has won 11 of those games. Galway beat Kilkenny twice in last year’s championship and drew once, the wins in the round robin and Leinster Final Replay.
Last 5 Championship Meetings
2018 Galway 1-28 Kilkenny 3-15 (Leinster Final Replay)
2018 Galway 0-18 Kilkenny 0-18 (Leinster Final)
2018 Galway 1-22 Kilkenny 2-11 (Leinster round robin)
2016 Kilkenny 1-26 Galway 0-22 (Leinster Final)
2015 Kilkenny 1-22 Galway 1-18 (All-Ireland Final)
Brian Cody coming into the game speaking to the Kilkenny People said “Everybody talks about the injuries, but we don’t talk about the injuries,” We have a panel of players and as I’m saying the whole time we are still picking from a position of strength as far as I’m concerned. “There is good quality on the bench as well, so it’s not a question of who we don’t have. It’s a question of who we have.
Micheal Donoghue speaking after the draw with Wexford to the Connacht Tribune said: “I believe there is an improvement to come, I still have trust in our players and we don’t have everyone on board.”
KILKENNY: Darren Brennan; Paul Murphy, Huw Lawlor, Tommy Walsh; Conor Fogarty, Padraig Walsh, Paddy Deegan; Alan Murphy, Richie Leahy; Adrian Mullen, Billy Ryan, TJ Reid; Bill Sheehan, Colin Fennelly, Ger Aylward.
GALWAY: Colm Callanan; John Hanbury, Daithí Burke, Aidan Harte; Padraic Mannion, Gearoid McInerney, Joseph Cooney; Seán Loftus, David Burke; Cathal Mannion, Jonathan Glynn, Adrian Tuohey; Conor Whelan, Jason Flynn, Brian Concannon.
Kilkenny are the bookmakers’ favourites at odds of 8/13, with Galway at odds of 13/8. Home advantage for me swings it in Kilkenny’s favour. Colin Fennelly to score the first goal at 5/1 looks a good bet.