Weekend hurling previews: Throw-in times, TV details and team news

Séan Moran looks ahead to a weekend that features the Leinster and Munster finals

Noel McGrath will need to have a big game for Tipperary in the Munster SHC  final against Limerick. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Noel McGrath will need to have a big game for Tipperary in the Munster SHC final against Limerick. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

 

Saturday

Leinster SHC final
Dublin v Kilkenny, Croke Park, 7.30 – Live RTÉ

Dublin’s record against Kilkenny in recent years has been worthy but strictly in the ‘moral victory’ category. Last October’s sensational comeback from being 15 down at half-time still didn’t seal the deal.

One of the catalysts that evening, Eamon Dillon, is injured this year, and Eoghan O’Donnell is an injury doubt. They’re coping with an improved Kilkenny even if Wexford should have put them away in ordinary time. It’s unlikely that the physicality that appeared to startle Galway will have too much impact on the champions but defensively Wexford posed questions and Dublin have been showing more in attack of late.

Can they, though, go toe-to-toe with Kilkenny but without the element of surprise and nonetheless outscore them? Probably not.

Verdict: Kilkenny

All-Ireland SHC Qualifiers – Round one
Clare v Wexford, Semple Stadium, 1.30 – Live Sky Sports Arena

Clare’s trajectory has been impressive this summer. They addressed the shortcomings in their game against Waterford for the semi-final with Tipperary, had to ride out a controversial decision and still responded with a strong finish.

Tony Kelly has been in good form without carrying the show on his own – eg Ian Galvin’s contribution two weeks ago.

Wexford have to be bitterly disappointed with the tight margins against Kilkenny but they were ultimately outgunned – and may be again. Rory O’Connor and Conor McDonald were terrific against Kilkenny but the game plan isn’t built to maximise their output. Kelly was injured out of the league match in May, which Clare narrowly lost. Likely to match Wexford for industry in the middle third, they should otherwise be too lively.

Verdict: Clare

Laois v Waterford, UPMC Nowlan Park, 2.0 – Live GAAGO
Laois played really well to consign Antrim to an early return to the McDonagh Cup, which contrasts with their opponents’ mediocre display against Clare last month.

Still no word on Waterford’s missing Conor Prunty or Jamie Barron and unless the former is fully fit, both may sit it out for another week. Liam Cahill should be able to generate sufficient bounce-back to navigate this.

Verdict: Waterford

Joe McDonagh Cup final
Kerry v Westmeath, Croke Park, 5.0 – Live RTÉ

Finalists for the first three years of this championship, one of these counties will make the breakthrough. Incredibly tight margins got them here. You’d imagine that Division 1 hurling should benefit Westmeath even if that’s not obvious so far.

Verdict: Westmeath

Joe McDonagh Cup relegation final
Kildare v Meath, Parnell Park, 3.0

Kildare’s roll nearly took them to the final and they can win this.
Verdict: Kildare

Christy Ring Cup quarter-final
Roscommon v Sligo, Dr Hyde Park, 3.0

Nickey Rackard Cup quarter-final
Leitrim v Armagh, Kingspan Breffni. 1.30

Lory Meagher Cup quarter-final
Fermanagh v Monaghan, Brewster Park, 1.30

Sunday

Munster SHC final
Tipperary v Limerick, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 4.15
– Live RTÉ
Did this relationship shift two weeks ago when the champions laboured against Cork and Tipp looked back in form when weathering a decent Clare challenge.

The faster pitches should suit Tipperary because their hurling looked sharp but Limerick, as often evidenced, can play it any way. Soaring temperatures won’t however suit the older team no matter that they looked in decent shape against Clare. There were question marks over Limerick’s inability to put away Cork until the very end but Tipp don’t have that sort of pace when it comes to exerting pressure.

They need more from the McGraths, Noel in particular and John, whether off the bench or otherwise, if they’re to get the best out the team – in other words, creating goalscoring opportunities. They can’t afford to lose concentration, as they did against Clare because Limerick will flatten them.

The champions have comprehensively had Tipp’s number for the past two years. Maybe the plates have shifted slightly but in this view, not enough.

Verdict: Limerick

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