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Hurling Qualifier Draw for Rounds 2 and 3
June 29th, 2008. [ Comments: 1 ]

Courtesy of TV3 this evening.
First named have home advantage

Round 2 (July 5th)
Galway v Laois
Waterford v Antrim

Round 3 (July 12th)
Cork v Dublin
Limerick v Offaly

Nothing special there under than the fact that home advantage went to the big teams in all cases. Surely some kind of provision could have been made for Laois and Antrim to get home advantage next weekend.

Dublin will do well to get close to Cork while Offaly might put up a good battle against Limerick but the home advantage going to the Munster teams means they should both come through easy enough.


Damien Fox resigns from Laois
June 26th, 2008. [ Comments: none ]

Another inter county hurling manager bites the dust as Damien Fox resigns from Laois. He had enough of the poor turnout of players at training where numbers were as low as 3 one day so he handed in a written resignation to the county board. His selector and former county star Niall Rigney takes over along with Joe Dollard. They’ll have a tough job with their first game on Sunday week against the winners of Galway and Antrim, which no doubt will be Galway. After that it’ll then be a relegation battle to preserve their Liam McCarthy status.

2 out of 12 Liam McCarthy team managers gone before the end of June is fair going! One more and we’ll have a quarter of them gone. Who’s next?


Christy Ring and Nicky Rackard Cups Start
June 25th, 2008. [ Comments: none ]

The Christy Ring and Nicky Rackard cups start this Saturday with a full round of games in each. There should be plenty of good games with rising standards in both grades so hopefully they’ll get some more coverage than normal in the media.

Westmeath are probably favourites to win the Christy Ring again and Carlow and Down are likely to be their main challengers.

Couple of interesting teams in the Nicky Rackard cup. Non Ards is a bizarre name, they were South Down during the league and as the name suggests it’s the parts of Down outside the Ards Penisula which is the main hurling area up there. They were very strong in the league and just lost to Monaghan in the Division 4 final. We also have Fingal which presumably is some kind of North Dublin or Dublin County team. Be interesting to see what they’re like.
It’s likely to be Donegal, Louth and Tyrone pushing for honours although Donegal and Tyrone are in the same tough group together along with Monaghan.

Westmeath and Louth as the winners in both so just to be different I think i’ll take a chance on Carlow in the Christy Ring and Donegal in the Nicky Rackard.


Previews, Clare Limerick Dublin Wexford Replay
June 17th, 2008. [ Comments: 6 ]

Two provincial semi finals this Sunday, Limerick v Clare in Thurles and the Dublin Wexford replay in Croker.

Hard to call the Munster one, with Boylesports currently quoting both at evens. Clare looked superb after their win over Waterford but there’s doubts about whether most of the Waterford players even tried in that game. Still it’s the only form to go with and there’s no doubt having a good championship game under the belt is an advantage. Not that either of them is going to be an All Ireland contender, indeed they’ll hardly challenge Tipp too much for the Munster title. I expect Limerick to return to their normal mediocrity after last year’s lucky run and so go with the Banner men to triumph.

In Leinster the common feeling is that Dublin blew their chance but still with home advantage and the open spaces of Croke Park likely to suit Ross O’Carroll and David O’Callaghan they could post another decent score. If they could get a handle on Eoin Quigley at centre forward for Wexford they’d be well on their way. Wexford were miserable the last day and there’s only so far the old half time roaring about heart and guts can take you - hopefully the Dubs can be a bit more clinical in finding the net and set up a novel Leinster final.


Kilkenny beat Offaly 2-24 to 0-12
June 15th, 2008. [ Comments: 2 ]

It was all too easy for Kilkenny in the end as they cruised to an 18 point win that covered the handicap of 16 points. The first half was a good tough one with Offaly really getting stuck into the champs but Henry Shefflin set up Martin Comerford for a last minute goal that gave the cats a 6 point lead at the break and afterwards the Offaly challenge died.

It’s another sign that the Leinster provincial system is dead in hurling but unfortunately there’s no one in authority with the balls to scrap Leinster and Munster and bring in an open draw. Even bringing Galway over is only a token gesture.


Dublin and Wexford draw, 0-19 to 2-13
June 14th, 2008. [ Comments: none ]

Dublin blew a great chance to reach the Leinster Final when they let Wexford off the ropes in Nowlan Park. A poor enough game with loads of wides but an exciting finish and in the end Wexford had a chance to win it with a Diarmuid Lyng free but he mis-hit it.

Wexford were shocking in the first half only scoring 1 point from a free which came in the last minute but they got 2 early goals which were crucial. Dublin scored great points through David O’Callaghan and Ross O’Carroll but they missed a few goal chances which in the end proved costly and at half time it was Dublin 0-11 Wexford 2-1.

Wexford showed much more fire and passion in the second half but still Dublin had plenty of chances to keep ahead which they continually wasted with some poor wides. It drives you nuts to watch outfield players drive wide after wide when there’s a corner forward inside who’s on fire.

Wexford really don’t look up to much at all, hard to see what John Meyler is doing with them from a coaching and tactics point of view - especially obvious in the first half when they ignored their big ball winning full forward and drove long range wides for fun.
Dublin on the other hand have plenty of talent and good tactical play but probably lack the killer instinct in front of goals and the hard nosed edge that winning brings..

The advantage will probably swing to Wexford for the replay, either way the extra game should at least be useful preparation for whoever reaches the final against Kilkenny.

Man of the match went to the Dubs David O’Callaghan.


Dublin v Wexford Leinster Semi Final
June 11th, 2008. [ Comments: none ]

Both Leinster semi finals are on this weekend but the Dublin Wexford one is the really interesting one which has the potential to provide one of the big hurling breakthroughs of the year - namely Dublin making it into the Leinster final and establishing themselves as the number 2 team in the province.

No offence to Wexford but it’d be great for the game if the Dubs were to win. It’s perfectly set for them too, they have all their underage success of recent years, some good showings in the last 2 league campaigns and Wexford are down in the dumps after relegation to division 2 and some injuries.

Wexford are still the clear favourites with the bookies, are currently quoting them at 4/7, with the Dubs at 13/8 and the draw at 9/1. Seems a pretty decent price to have a small punt on. After my hopeless Cork v Tipp predicition I don’t want to knobble the Dubs by tipping them but surely this time they can do it against a totally out of sorts model county.

The game is live on RTE on Saturday afternoon, throw in 4.15pm.


Davy Fitzgerald is the new Waterford manager
June 11th, 2008. [ Comments: 3 ]

Davy Fitzgerald is the new Waterford boss. He has Peter Queally and Maurice Geary as his selectors.

Didn’t take them long to find and appoint their new man - they were hardly in touch with him prior to Justin’s departure were they?

He’ll , probably what the players need after so long under the one manager. He’s unproven at this level but he’s had plenty of club, college and underage success. If all the injured players recover he’ll have a strong hand to pick from.

He carries the madness from his playing days to the sideline, which has got him into trouble a few times already - I wonder what are the odds on him getting a sideline suspension before the season is over?

There’s when Michael Bond came to take over from Babs and they went on to win the All Ireland.


Tipperary beat Cork, 1-19 to 1-13
June 11th, 2008. [ Comments: none ]

Powerful finish by Tipperary saw them break the 85 year hoodoo in Pairc Ui Chaoimh and advance to the Munster final. .

They answered the questions about whether their league form could be carried through and they exposed Cork’s inexperienced forward line.


Cork v Tipperary Prediction
June 6th, 2008. [ Comments: 1 ]

Huge clash in Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Sunday in the Munster semi. Tipp are the league champions but it’s all of 85 years since they won a championship game against Cork in Cork.

Tipp have been flying all year and everyone’s talking about them as potential champions but the heat of a Munster semi in Cork is a hell of a lot different than a league campaign. That being said Cork’s attack has a very inexperienced look with Canty, O’Sullivan and Cronin and a lot will depend on how they cope.

are currently quoting Cork as the 8-11 favourites with Tipp at 5-4 and the draw at 10-1.
I have to go along with that, expect Cork to win by 3 to 4 points.

The teams are:

Cork:
D Og Cusack;
S O’Neill, D O’Sullivan, B Murphy;
J Gardiner, R Curran, S Og O hAilpin;
J O’Connor, T Kenny;
B O’Connor, K Canty, T McCarthy;
P O’Sullivan, P Cronin, C Naughton

Tipperary:
Brendan Cummins;
Eamonn Buckley, Paul Curran, Conor O’Brien;
Eamon Corcoran, Conor O’Mahony, Shane Maher;
James Woodlock, Shane McGrath;
Seamus Butler, Seamus Callinan, Ryan O’Dwyer;
Eoin Kelly, Lar Corbett, Willie Ryan;


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