These are historic times. With the semi-final lineup decided in both the All Ireland Senior and Minor hurling championships, Limerick aren’t just well in contention for both, they are favourites for both. Few people could have envisaged a situation at the start of the year where Kilkenny, Galway and Tipperary would all fail to make the last four of the All Ireland race but that’s exactly what’s happened, so right now it’s just under 10/1 that the Treaty County win not one, but both major trophies on the first Sunday in September. Unbelievable scenes!
However that’s an issue for down the road, for now our concern is the resumption of the local senior hurling championship, with eight crucial group games down for decision this weekend. Paddy Power are betting on five of those ties, since in three other games there is at least one team with nothing to play for.
Of the games with odds on offer, Kilmallock (1/9 to beat Effin) and Adare (1/6 to beat Knockainey) are almost impossible to oppose, which leaves us with three ties to examine in detail.
First up is the Group A eliminator between Garryspillane and South Liberties, where the Bouncers are narrowly favoured by PP at odds of 4/6, even though a draw would be good enough for them. Historically these odds make sense, but there’s a lot to like about the defensive work that we’ve seen from the South Liberties club this year and they’ll fancy their chances of strangling the Garryspillane forwards; figuratively, at least. They were slow to get their season going this year, skipping the East championship entirely, but they’ve gathered some momentum now and since neither team has too many county players to integrate back in, they should slip right back into the groove tomorrow night in Bruff. We’ll give them the nod at 11/8.
Na Piarsaigh would have been well fancied in Group B at the start of the year but things haven’t really gone their way since then and right now Patrickswell look like they could have an edge here. Both sides lost narrowly to Doon and both comfortably overcame Granagh/Ballingarry, but there was a sense that Doon were fortunate to beat the ‘Well, but that their victory over the 2011 champions was well deserved. A draw (8/1) cannot be ruled out, but we’ll take the Paddy Power outsiders here too – Patrickswell at 6/5.
Murroe-Boher are 3/10 to beat Bruree in the last betting heat of the round and frankly they’re impossible to oppose, Bruree really don’t look good enough here. A double with Patrickswell pays out at 15/8, while an M-B/S-L double is slightly shorter at 7/4. Both make good appeal, while the treble on all three is a 5/1 shot and could be worth a second look. After all, there are some trips to Croke Park to be paid for.
Tips supplied by Kevin Egan