SHC previews: Thurles set for more history

July 06, 2018

Semple Stadium, Thurles will play host to the Leinster SHC final replay between Galway and Kilkenny on Sunday.
©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo.

This weekend sees three hurling championship ties down for decision, including the Leinster SHC final replay in Thurles. Here are our previews:


Saturday, July 7th

All-Ireland SHC preliminary quarter-finals

Carlow v Limerick, Netwatch Cullen Park, 7pm

This is set to be the first ever meeting between these two counties in the All-Ireland senior hurling championship and, putting it plainly, it's difficult to see how Carlow can pull off an upset in it.

The newly crowned Joe McDonagh Cup champions have earned the right to welcome Limerick to their home turf this weekend but face a mountainous task in trying to deny them a berth in the last six race for the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

While the Shannonsiders' form may have dipped somewhat towards the end of the Munster championship, they still possess some deadly weapons in their front lines to cause real damage to the hosts on Saturday evening.

Expect John Kiely's men to run up a similar sort of score to the one they defeated a depleted Waterford outfit last month and advance comfortably here.

Verdict: Limerick

Westmeath v Wexford, TEG Cusack Park, 7pm

This Leinster derby will be the first championship meeting between these two counties since 2015 and on that occasion Wexford emerged eight-point winners from a Leinster quarter-final.

The Lake County's last outing saw them go down by five to Carlow in the Joe McDonagh Cup final and now they enter the fray for the All-Ireland championship looking to upset 14/1 odds against the Slaneysiders.

Davy Fitzgerald will have been deeply disappointed with having finished third behind Galway and Kilkenny in the newly formatted Leinster championship and therefore you'd expect his team to hold nothing back on their visit to Mullingar this weekend.

Provided that the likes of Rory O'Connor and Lee Chin are on-song, there could well be more than an eight-point margin separating them at the finish this time round.

Verdict: Wexford


Sunday, July 8th

Leinster SHC final replay

Galway v Kilkenny, Semple Stadium, 3pm - RTE

The first ever Leinster final outside the eastern province will be staged in Thurles this Sunday, as Galway and Kilkenny get set to battle it out for another 70 minutes to earn the right to take home the Bob O'Keeffe Cup.

After last weekend's thrilling encounter between these two finished 0-18 apiece, the scene switches from headquarters to 'the home of hurling' and it's the Cats whom have history on their side, having won the last two Leinster final replays in 1993 and 1972 (both were against Wexford).

This will also be the third championship replay between Kilkenny and the Tribesmen since 2012, with Brian Cody's men winning the previous two in the '12 All Ireland final replay and the '14 Leinster quarter-final replay.

Neither side will pay much heed to any of that however once the sliotar hits the turf at Semple Stadium on Sunday afternoon for this rematch between two titans and, to no surprise, it's the defending All-Ireland champions that the bookies still strongly favour.

If Micheál Donoghue's men are to keep it to script this time round then you'll expect to see a more all-round solid display, with Joe Canning also upping the conversion rate for them, in what's set to be the 45th ever championship clash between these two counties.

Verdict: Galway

Be sure to follow the match tracker this weekend for all the live action from the All-Ireland football and hurling qualifiers and the Leinster SHC final replay.

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