GAA punting pro Keith Merchant (@kmerchant3) shares his thoughts on this weekend’s action from across the Irish Sea.
Galway v Clare | Saturday 28th July 2018, 17:00 | Sky Sports
Saturday promises to be an exciting weekend in the GAA headquarters as the race for the Liam MacCarthy cup hots up.
We could be in for some exciting yet contrasting approaches in the two semi-finals, the mind games have already begun and I’m expecting some fierce battles.
There is no doubt Galway are hot favourites to win the All-Ireland this year and I have seen little to change my mind. The win over Kilkenny was the key. They now must realise it will take a serious performance from any of their rivals to stop them winning back to back titles.
If this Galway team are complacent like they were against Kilkenny in the drawn game you’d give Clare a good chance, but I can’t see Galway letting that happen for a second time this year, that was the wake up call needed.
Galway will be extremely focused and have a great opportunity to add another All-Ireland but Clare will be doing their best to upset the Galway machine.
Clare beat Wexford in the quarter-final while putting on a good showing. If they set out with the same confidence and run at Galway like they did to Wexford, that will give them a decent chance.
However, I do expect Galway’s class and brilliance to shine through. They should win comfortably with a few points to spare. Galway here all the way for me.
Cork v Limerick | Sunday 29th July 2018, 15:30 | Sky Sports
I think we are in for a cracker of a game on Sunday afternoon between to two high-scoring, attacking teams. I must admit, I’ve have not been the biggest fan of Cork over the years, but the more I look at this game the more I like them. In fairness, they’re right up with Galway form-wise all year, yet few talk about them.
They were unbeaten in Munster, although admittedly lucky against Limerick. They really impressed in the second half against Clare to battle back from five points down on their way to a second Munster title.
With the likes of Captain Seamus Harnedy, Patrick Horgan, Cork have been in cracking form and should thrive in the an open game at the expansive Croke Park.
Limerick come in off the back of a brilliant win over Kilkenny and that will have done a serious job for their confidence. Limerick will feel that if they had had 15 men against Cork in the Munster game, they would have left with the win rather than a draw.
Limerick no doubt have a young exciting team but I just feel they’re a year away from competing for All-Ireland glory. Cork are more battle hardened, so I’m backing them to come out on top.
Galway v Clare – Galway -3 (4/5 Boylesports)
Cork v Limerick – Cork to win (11/10 Boylesports)
GAA Double – Galway -3 and Cork to win (7/2 Boylesports)