Limerick v Cork, Sunday, 4pm, Gaelic Grounds
2018 All-Ireland Champions make their championship bow on Sunday when they face off against Cork at the Gaelic Grounds which is sure to see a big turn out in support for both counties. Cork will know this game will either reignite the Munster Championship for them or it could, in fact, end it if they lose give that they have to face Waterford and Clare.
Limerick had an excellent league campaign going to claim Division 1 honours. Since then there has been little talk about John Kiely’s men but we all know what to expect when his side cross the line on Sunday afternoon. They racked up some big scores in the league and were crowned league campaigns and they are rightly one of the favourites again to win Liam McCarthy going on evidence which I have seen so far in 2019. A win will be required to get their campaign off to a cracking start and it is difficult to see how they won’t win especially as they will be coming into the game fresh, unlike Cork.
Looking at Cork they hit 1-24 in the loss to Tipperary which is a good score. However, they still managed to concede 2-28 which is not going to get you wins in Munster Hurling. Their backs were unsettled, Seamus Callanan, John O’Dwyer and John McGrath ran riot, scoring 1-04, 1-03 and 0-07 respectively. If they can tighten up in defence then they would give themselves a massive shout here because they have the forwards that can do damage.
Limerick will look to players like Riche English, Diarmuid Byrnes and Declan Hannon in defence, while Cian Lynch is likely to partner Darragh O’Donovan in midfield. In attack players like Kyle Hayes, Shane Dowling, Tom Morrissey, Graeme Mulcahy and Peter Casey are all superb and they can cause plenty of trouble for Cork. Looking at Cork players like Tim O’Mahony, Eoin Cadogan and Mark Coleman will need big games in defence. In midfield, Darragh Fitzgibbon had a quiet game against Tipperary so more will be needed from him. Pat Horgan once again excelled in the attack, while Conor Lehane and Seamus Harnedy will need to put in a big 70 minutes plus if Cork are to leave Shannonside with a win.
Limerick come into the 2019 championship as reigning league and All-Ireland champions, her than Kilkenny no team has done that since Galway in 1989.
Last 5 Championship Meetings
2018 Limerick 3-32 Cork 2-31 AET (All-Ireland semi-final)
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
Limerick (Munster SHC v Cork): Nickie Quaid; Sean Finn, Mike Casey, Richie English; Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon, Dan Morrissey; Cian Lynch, Darragh O’Donovan; Gearoid Hegarty, Kyle Hayes, Tom Morrissey; Peter Casey, Aaron Gillane, Graeme Mulcahy
Cork (Munster SHC v Limerick) : Anthony Nash, Sean O’Donoghue, Eoin Cadogan, Niall O’Leary, Robert Downey, Mark Ellis, Mark Coleman, Bill Cooper, Darragh Fitzgibbon, Daniel Kearney, Seamus Harnedy, Luke Meade, Conor Lehane, Pat Horgan, Aidan Walsh.
Limerick are 8/15 favourites, Cork are 2/1 and the draw is 8/1. Which is a good bet considering the draw in last year’s championship. Aaron Gillane at 11/2 looks a good bet to score the first goal of the game. I would be avoiding the handicap market here.