Pete’s Picks – Kilkenny v Galway – All-Ireland SHC Final Preview
Kilkenny v Galway
Walter Walsh is not having his most effective Championship as a Kilkenny attacker.
In three outings in this campaign the physically imposing character has managed just 0-2, both scored, interestingly, in the Leinster SHC final against Galway, Kilkenny’s opponents in Sunday’s All-Ireland final. Inspiring statistics? Not quite.
However, given how woeful the Tribesmen were under the high ball in to the edge of their square in the All-Ireland semi-final, there is a theory Brian Cody could station Walsh in the full-forward role. And if he does, instead of being on the periphery of the wing, Walsh could destroy Galway. We saw, and as was illustrated pre-match here, with Séamus Callanan that John Hanbury and Anthony Cunningham’s defence is vulnerable under aerial attack.
Cody is notorious for playing on the weaknesses of Kilkenny’s opponents and who better than Walsh to torment Galway a la Callanan? His form, thus far, has been subdued. However, everybody witnessed how, as to be fair to Cunningham et al – an unknown quantity, Walsh produced a man of the match performance in the All-Ireland final replay of 2012.
The towering forward hit 1-3 in open play and the RTÉ Sunday Game panel deemed him MVP. It could happen again on Sunday.
Each year there is one player that comes out of the pack to produce a scintillating display on final-day. And there is no question Walsh is due a major performance.
If, and it’s a big if, my theory he’ll play as the front-line menace for the Cats proves accurate, Walsh seems ridiculously overpriced at BoyleSports’ 20/1 to notch first and 5/1 to register a major at anytime. Even if he is not in the inside line those quotes still represent value.
Should he have the potential bearing on the encounter that is being touted Walsh also may end up on the man of the match shortlist with RTÉ. He is 7/1 to be nominated and 25/1 to pick up the award. Both of those prices are worth taking.
Cody’s outfit were troubled by Galway into the closing stages of the provincial decider. Then, in the blink of an eye they’re lifting the silverware on the back of a seven-point success. Punters would be forgiven for expecting a similar narrative on this forthcoming occasion. Kilkenny are 1/2 in regulation-time and represent a brilliant bet to win the game. Yet, supporting them -2 at 4/5 to a decent stake should give you more bang for your buck.
Galway have been installed as 21/10 outsiders while the draw has been nibbled at with BoyleSports clipping their quote to 15/2. Still, Walsh and Richie Hogan can soar on hurling’s great day.
As a ‘saver’ to bettors’ supplementary punts, backing the Danesfort dynamo is recommended in the man of the match market at 6/1. Hogan pilfered 1-14 in open play so far this summer including 0-4 against Galway and is yet to get the award this Championship.
Kilkenny -2 @ 4/5
Walter Walsh Anytime Scorer @ 5/1
Walter Walsh First Goalscorer @ 20/1
Walter Walsh RTÉ Man of the Match Nominee @ 7/1
Walter Walsh RTÉ Man of the Match Winner @ 25/1
Richie Hogan RTÉ Man of the Match Winner @ 6/1
*Prices correct at time of publication