GAA fanatic Keith Merchant (@kmerchant3) shares his thoughts on Sunday's hurling action from the All-Ireland Championship.
Galway v Tipperary | Sunday 6th August 2017, 15:30 | Sky Sports
All roads lead to GAA headquarters on Sunday as the two favourites for the All-Ireland hurling title clash for a spot in next month's all-or-nothing decider.
It’s an unmissable clash and one I honestly can’t for. It’s the game of the year so far…
Galway and Tipperary have clashed twice over the past two summers at the semi-final stage; the Tribesmen sneaked a one-point victory two years but Tipp avenged that loss with a similarly narrow-margin triumph at this point 12 months ago.
Tipp went on to defeat Kilkenny in the final by a solitary point and I’m expecting another mightily-close encounter on Sunday.
There’s no doubt this Tipperary team will require a similar performance if they are to quieten the Tribesmen for a second consecutive summer.
Galway annihilated the Tipp men in the League final and since then the defending All- Ireland champions' form has been almost impossible to read – slumping to Cork, struggling past Westmeath and dismantling a poor Dublin team before getting past Clare.
Sunday presents a different task all together with Tipperary looking to have dropped down a level from 12 months prior but still boasting the talent in their squad to end Galway’s' dreams of a first All-Ireland win since the 1980s.
Galway are the slight favourites at 10/11 to dethrone the Premier County. Their form has been excellent all year and this championship has seen them produce a demolishment of both Dublin and Offaly, and a comfortable victory over Wexford in the Leinster final.
The Galway management team will expect dangermen such as Joe Canning, the Cooney’s and Conor Whelan to be ready to roll five weeks on from their Leinster championship success, with plenty of time since the semi-final draw to work out the match-ups to try to shackle the likes of Seamus Callanan, John McGrath and Bubbles O'Dwyer.
Needless to say, Seamus Callanan will be Galway’s main cause for concern and I’d imagine they'll look to Burke or McInerney as their solution to try and handle the lethal Tipperary man.
The betting angles
Should things stay as close as the odds would suggest, it could all end up hinging on that crucial battle in front of both defences, and nothing would surprise here. I don’t think there will be any sweepers and the Cooney v Maher battle will be massive with proper hits going in all over the place.
There are multiple bets here but I’ll have to narrow it down to three; the first selection is the draw at 9/1 (Paddy Power). Given the tight margins from the previous two meetings, it makes a whole lot of sense to attack the replay at chunky odds.
The second selection is Daithi Burke to receive a yellow card at anytime at 5/2 (Paddy Power). He will be vital to the Galway defence and under severe pressure.
Finally, I like the Galway/Galway double result at 2/1 (Paddy Power). Galway will need to get off to a good start and be in front at the interval to put the pressure all on Tipperary. It’s a great price.
Galway v Tipperary – Draw 9/1 (Paddy Power)
Galway v Tipperary – Daithi Burke anytime yellow card (5/2 Paddy Power)
Galway v Tipperary – Galway/Galway (2/1 Paddy Power)