League structures and competitiveness were seen as all-important issues during the spring and certainly some of the heavy defeats that were handed out by the division one sides in football have ensured that league status is still a contentious issue in the football world. However when it comes to hurling, Clare and Waterford kicked the season off in fine style last Sunday and it’s only the championship that matters to anyone. Kilkenny, Wexford, Offaly and Dublin all get their seasons underway this weekend while locally, the Gaelic Grounds will host the first of this year’s Munster semi-finals, set to be contested by Limerick and Tipperary.
Limerick were always likely to start as outsiders in this clash but Tipperary’s strong performance in the National Hurling League has cemented that view. The Premier County are currently 2/9 with Paddy Power, while 12/1 is available aboaut the draw and 7/2 is on offer about a win for Limerick. The handicap mark is set at five points, which might seem like a big head start, but when we see that Waterford were level with fifteen minutes to go and still lost by eight, is clear that such a spread is easily covered in a fast paced summer championship clash.
Matching Tipperary’s stamina is going to be a huge issue for Limerick and Powers are certainly calling Limerick’s staying power into question, offering money back on all losing goalscorer bets if Limerick get the last score of the match. That’s an incredibly generous offer, considering the numbers involved.
Roughly speaking, it would be expected that there would be approximately 40-41 scores in the game on average, which would be split 23-18 in favour of Tipp if the handicap was correct. That would imply that any given score has a 56% chance of coming from a Tipp player and a 44% of coming from a Limerick hurler. Even allowing for Tipperary finishing with more power, the probability of having a safety net in place is still significant, so it would be remiss not to look for a goalscorer bet this week.
It would be easy to look at Limerick’s strengths in this regard however it would be foolish also not to consider Tipperary’s weaknesses. This season, surging runs through the centre have caused Eamon O’Shea’s men huge problems. Michael Fennelly scored twice from centre forward in the league final, while Tony Kelly also netted from centre forward for the Banner men against Tipp in the league. Limerick are quite comfortable with that style of attacking play and both David Breen and Conor Allis look like good value bets as a consequence. Allis is a 20/1 shot to score the first goal of the game and 5/1 to score a goal at any time, while the corresponding prices for Breen are 14/1 and 7/2. Both of those any time prices would look good regardless of any refund possibility, but the special offer makes a trip to your local Powers shop all the more worthwhile this week.
(provided by Kevin Egan)