The weekend’s hurling previews: simple assignments for Cork and Dublin

Westmeath and Laois are bidding to cause an upset and earn improbable place in quarters

Alan Cadogan returns for Cork against Westmeath. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Alan Cadogan returns for Cork against Westmeath. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

Sunday

Westmeath v Cork

TEG Cusack Park, 3pm

With Kilkenny lying in wait in Croke Park on Sunday week, Cork manager John Meyler will want to make sure his Cork team take care of business here promptly and without any fuss. They were caught by Clare’s raging against the dying of the light in the last round in Munster in Ennis, but still the sense is Meyler has been pacing things all along with a view to peaking later rather than sooner.

It’s a first championship meeting between these two teams so nothing to go on there, and Westmeath are also coming in on the back of a possibly draining defeat to Laois in the McDonagh Cup final last weekend, for the second successive year. Killian Doyle remains their target man and scoring threat up front, hitting 1-11 last weekend, adding to the 2-50 he’s sniped during the group stages.

Still that’s unlikely to be any match for Cork’s scoring threat, the return of Alan Cadogan, who hit four against Clare, spreading the options too.

Patrick Horgan has been killing his frees softly and is hungry like the wolf for a goal and it shouldn’t be too long before business of taken care of.

Verdict: Cork

Laois v Dublin Portlaoise, 4.15pm After all the madness around Dublin’s win over Galway in the last round the Leinster championship one thing became clear: Dublin are tired of moral victories and they won’t be lying down easy for the rest of the summer either.

Still Laois will provide a timely test of that again, with a wounded Tipperary awaiting the winners in Croke Park next Sunday.

Eddie Brennan has quickly made his presence felt in guiding them to the McDonagh Cup title last weekend, praising the rugged determination that was the trademark of teams of his previous manager, Brian Cody.

With nine different scores, Mark Kavanagh and Aaron Dunphy to the fore in their 3-26 tally, Dublin will need to match up early. They last met in the 2017 qualifier when Dublin won by 13 points, and it should be a little closer this time.

The worry for Laois is Dublin’s momentum, the monkey also off their back, as manager Mattie Kenny suggesting after the Galway win, knocking them out of the championship. Conal Keaney’s best years might be behind him but he would not want them back, not with the fire in him now, and assuming they can pick up where they left off against Galway this game should soon steer in one direction only.

Verdict: Dublin

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