Goals To Flow As Cats Chase Top-Dog Status
Kilkenny v Limerick
This is an intriguing semi-final between a side keen to re-establish itself as the undisputed champions of the hurling world and the contender who brings much to threaten the former great.
Limerick captain, Donal O’Grady, has recovered from injury and replaces Tom Ryan on Sunday. Kilkenny will name their side tonight (Friday).
Kilkenny have done all asked of them this year, winning a cracking league final against Tipp, then hitting 5-32 by Offaly in Sky Sports’ first hurling offering before outhurling Galway over two outings, then blowing Dublin away in the Leinster Final.
Cody has won nine All-Irelands in his 16 years managing Kilkenny, and been runner-up three times. His motivation that this year will not add to the three ‘non-final’ seasons should be evident in his side. Their hunger to right last year’s early exit at the quarter-final stage is a massive driving force.
Limerick have had a massive season, twenty minutes against Cork in the Munster Final aside. They beat Tipp in Thurles for the first time since 1973, and derailed Wexford’s momentum charge in ruthless style in the Quarter-final 4-26 to 1-11 massacre.
Limerick too are looking to banish last year’s ghosts when the didn’t turn up for their semi-final against Clare. TJ Ryan has referred to that a number of times in his interviews this week so, like Kilkenny, redemption is their driving force.
Kilkenny’s games have averaged 4.75 goals while Limerick’s have averaged 3.6 goals. However, those stats are somewhat misleading as less than 4 goals have only been scored in two of the 7 games played involving either of these sides in championship.
Kilkenny’s opener with Offaly had six goals, their drawn cracker with Galway had 8, the replay had four, while the exception was their not goaling in their 0-24 to 1-11 win over the Dubs in the Leinster final.
Limerick’s win over Tipp in Sunday’s venue (Thurles) had four goals with Limerick scoring two, then the Treatysiders failed to net in the two-goal Munster decider, before they hit four (Wexford hit one) in their 24 point hammering of the Yellowbellies.
With four goals or over in five of the seven games involving Kilkenny or Limerick, the 5/6 about over 3.5 total goals looks very attractive indeed.
When you’ve players like Shane Dowling, David Breen, Tj Reid and Eoin Larkin all playing for you, that bet looks tastier than a fry-up with Mila Kunis.
In calling a winner, Kilkenny’s rock-solid form can’t be overlooked. They’ve won easily mostly, but when Galway tried to take advantage of Kilkenny’s coasting in their first game, the Cats clawed their way back into a winning position before Joe delivered a replay. A hungry Kilkenny were never going to be caught twice.
Limerick have huge potential and they’ve outstanding hurlers throughout. However, they wilted in the face of Cork’s refusal to lose two Munster’s on the trot to them, and while Limerick would love a final appearance, the reality is it’s been a good year for them already.
While the price about Limerick is tempting Kilkenny have capably dealt with all threats thus far. Limerick will need to produce their best display all year and will need to start nailing more of their long-range efforts and also get Kevin Downes on a going day if they’re to make the 9/4 pay out. 4/9 about the Cats isn’t stinking, but we’ll go for the Black & Amber to win by more than two at 8/11 on the alternative handicap.