The shape of this year’s All-Ireland senior hurling championship will take significant shape this weekend and here we preview the four games down for decision:
Saturday, June 15th
Leinster SHC round 5
Wexford v Kilkenny, Innovate Wexford Park, 7pm - Sky Sports
Both these sides are headed into this one on four points, a point behind Galway and a point a head of Dublin.
Victory at Innovate Wexford Park tomorrow evening will guarantee the winners a Leinster final place and it’s Brian Cody’s Kilkenny that travel to the Model County as 8/13 favourites.
Wexford ace Lee Chin has stated before this meeting that it’s “going to take a complete performance to get over the line” and how Davy Fitzgerald’s charges would love to deliver it against the Cats on home turf.
Last year’s ‘round robin’ clash between these two saw Kilkenny edge a 0-22 to 1-18 win and the margin this weekend could very well be as tight with a provincial decider berth on the line.
Should it end in a draw this time much will depend on the clash of Dublin and Galway at Parnell Park at the same time to decide who advances to the final.
Dublin v Galway, Parnell Park, 7pm - Sky Sports
A draw or win here books Galway another Leinster final spot while Dublin face into a ‘must win’ game at Parnell Park if they are to get there.
The Tribesmen stepped up to the plate last weekend at Nowlan Park and it’s what sees them leading Kilkenny by a point on the table heading into this final round.
Joe Canning could see his first minutes on the field since the Leinster champions’ league semi-final loss to Waterford back in March and, if it’s the case, Galway fans will be welcoming the Portumna star back with open arms after some mixed displays so far this summer.
Last year’s ‘round robin’ clash saw Galway clinch a one-point win while the league meeting this past spring ended in a 0-20 to 1-11 win for Micheál Donoghue’s men in Salthill.
This is another summer showdown which could well end up going right down to the wire.
Sunday, June 16th
Munster SHC round 5
Tipperary v Limerick, Semple Stadium, 2pm – RTE
Liam Sheedy’s Tipperary side are guaranteed a place in the race for the Liam MacCarthy Cup regardless of the result at Semple Stadium on Sunday afternoon, with a win or draw against Limerick putting them in the Munster final.
As for the All-Ireland champions, they trail Tipp by two points on the table and share four points with Cork and have a better score difference than the Rebels.
Treaty County boss John Kiely has said “thinking about a Munster final is only a distraction” ahead of this one and is keen for his players to focus primarily on the performance.
You can see why too considering the tallies the Premier men have been putting up this summer and it should all make for a cracker at the home of hurling this weekend.
Should Limerick and Cork both win on Sunday, they’ll join Tipp at the top of the table and placings will then come down to score difference.
Clare v Cork, Cusack Park, 2pm
It’s ‘do-or-die’ time for Clare here as they welcome Cork to Ennis in the fifth round of the Munster senior hurling championship.
Despite some below par displays, the Banner men still have a chance of staying in the All-Ireland championship if they defeat the Rebels on home turf and Limerick draw or win against Tipperary in Thurles.
Should that scenario become a reality then Clare will be taking third place in the Munster SHC table on the head-to-head rule.
This encounter itself at Cusack Park is a repeat of the last two provincial deciders down south and the 57th championship meeting over all between the counties, with Cork leading in wins by 39 to 12 with five ending in draws.
The men from Leeside are strong 3/10 favourites to raise the tally to 40 on Sunday, but are sure to face a fight for the points as the Banner look to bounce back from recent disappointing results, in front of their own home ground and with their season on the line.
Make sure to visit the hoganstand.com match tracker this weekend for live coverage from Leinster and Munster SHC round 5 and the Connacht SFC final between Galway and Roscommon.Tweet