GAA fanatic Keith Merchant (@kmerchant3) shares his thoughts on Saturday night's hurling action between Kilkenny and Limerick.
Kilkenny v Limerick | Saturday 19:00 | Sky Sports
Kilkenny come into this game on the back of two losses, both by their neighbours and fierce rivals Wexford; the Cats’ poor performance against Wexford set alarm bells ringing in Kilkenny fans ears.
Is this great team that have given so many people happy days coming to an end? Has the well finally run dry of Kilkenny hurling talent? One cannot draw that conclusion based on two games but on what will be seen on this upcoming tie against Limerick.
What was most worrying from a Kilkenny point of view was scoring just 1-4 from play on the day – that’s virtually unheard of. And now second guessing the fitness of key players like Mick Fennelly, Richie Hogan and Padraig Walsh doesn't help punters looking to back the Cats.
Limerick are in a similar situation, coming into this clash on a loss that came against Clare in the Munster championship. They had a decent league campaign and would have seen the Clare game as a decent opportunity to get into a Munster final, so will be disappointed.
No team would want to meet Kilkenny, especially a wounded animal like the Cats who will be hurting after their last encounter and Limerick will need to get off to a good start and put the pressure on.
In this Limerick team they have the talent to do just that and with players like Shane Dowling, Cian Lynch, Kyle Hayes and Richie McCarthy they can give Kilkenny plenty to think about.
The betting angle
It’s not easy to find an angle here; normally you would expect Kilkenny to win and be looking towards all markets involving the Cats but I just can’t get that last game out of my mind, and in Limerick they have tough opponents.
Limerick had their chances to beat Clare so should be somewhat positive going into this encounter, so I will be advising Limerick on the handicap +5 at (1/1 Paddy Power) as I expect the Treaty Men to come into this with all guns blazing – nothing to lose and all to gain.
Also I’m going to have a speculative punt on Cian Lynch of Limerick for Man Of The Match at 16/1 (Paddy Power) as I think, if Limerick are going to stand any chance of winning they will need a stellar performance from him.
Lynch is overpriced based on previous season’s performances rather than the last game against Clare when he was a bit subdued. On his day he can produce an explosive performance capable of destroying any team so I expect a good run for our money.
Overall I would advise caution regarding stakes as this game is fraught with danger and I'm confident that their will be better betting opportunities as the summer progresses.
Kilkenny v Limerick – Limerick +5 handicap (1/1 Paddy Power)
Kilkenny v Limerick – Cian Lynch to be named Man Of The Match (16/1 Paddy Power)