THIS WEEK got off to an excellent start from a Limerick hurling perspective with Árd Scoil Rís making sure that there will be at least one Limerick school in the Harty Cup semi-finals, following on from Limerick’s win over Waterford in Sunday’s Waterford Crystal Cup quarter final.
At the time of writing ASR are 6/4 second favourites, only marginally behind Thurles CBS (11/8). However ASR may be worth a punt, either as a single or as part of a multiple bet. Thurles CBS have been hotly fancied for each of the last few seasons in this competition, yet they’ve failed to deliver on several occasions since their last victory in 2009. Meanwhile their quarter final victory was both nailbiting and costly, as they lost influential wing back Ronan Heffernan to a red card and so to suspension. Anyone who watched their 3-12 to 0-12 win over Árd Scoil Rís in the group stages will know that they were flattered by that result and if they do face Castletroy in the semi-final round, they are perfectly capable of tripping up again.
Paddy Power’s special bet for the week, available in Limerick outlets only, is a 25/1 treble on Árd Scoil Rís for the Harty Cup, Limerick winning Division 1B and UL lifting the Fitzgibbon Cup. Of those three sides it’s fair to say that UL have the most to do, however UCC’s 13/8 favouritism looks very fragile to say the least of it.
Neither is UL’s group draw as treacherous as it looked at first glance. NUIG and GMIT are comparatively weak this year and while they will give UL some good games en route to the knockout stages, they’ll be unlikely to trip up the local students based on their form in the league.
Without doubt Limerick IT have the better draw and arguably are more likely to reach the last four, but they will find the step up in class very steep.
by Kevin Egan, PaddyPower