Hurling’s quarter-finals are the highlight of this weekend’s action, but the GAA have managed to cast a shadow over it with an absolutely ludicrous decision in the camogie championship. To get into a situation whereby they could be drawing lots for a place in the quarter-finals is absurd. It shouldn’t happen.
The ladies put in an enormous effort for their counties. They don’t get as much of the spotlight as their male counterparts, but they work every bit as hard as the lads. It’s farcical. It would not happen in the hurling or men’s football, so why is it seen as acceptable in the camogie? I understand the calendar is crammed and they may not have time, but surely a midweek play-off game could be organised in the case of a deadlock. It’s effectively an insult to the players.
The hurling quarter-finals look fascinating. Barring draws, you’re going to have two All-Ireland contenders out of the championship before the end of July and you’d have to wonder what the consequences would be for the managers who don’t get their teams through to a semi-final. If Cork lose to Galway you’d have to think Jimmy Barry Murphy will be gone after four years in charge and if Galway don’t win, Anthony Cunningham may be in the firing line. In the other game, what began as a promising year for both Waterford and Dublin will come to a sudden and disappointing end on Sunday for one of them, but given that both managers are just in the door, there’s unlikely to be changes.
Waterford v Dublin
Sunday, 2pm RTE2
Waterford have been the team of the year. They lost to Tipperary in the end, but they pushed them hard throughout the game and if you think Tipp are one of the favourites for the championship, then Waterford really aren’t far behind.
I didn’t think Dublin would beat Limerick last time out – especially when they went so far behind – but they finished strongly and deserve credit for that. The standard of the game was low however, especially when you compare it to the Munster final.
Waterford go into this the odds-on favourites and that doesn’t happen too often. The Dubs are experienced and they’ve got a lot of good hurlers and they’ll put it up to them. But Waterford will win it. Dublin will find it hard to break down the Waterford system and I can’t see them getting a goal.
It’ll be close, I’m not even convinced Waterford will cover the two point handicap, but they’ll have just about enough to win. For a slightly better price, I’d also look at the double result of Waterford Halftime/Waterford Fulltime. Maurice Shanahan is good bet for 1st Goalscorer, but Austin Gleeson offers a bit of value in the anytime goalscorer betting at 11/4.
Cork v Galway
Sunday, 4pm RTE2
Cork haven’t beaten Galway in the championship since 2008, but they’ve found some form at the right time of the season. I didn’t think they’d beat Clare, but they’ve a new system in place which has helped shore up the defence. It’ll be another tight game, but Cork will edge it. We’re expecting rain and combined with Cork’s defensive set-up, I’ll be taking Under 48.5 points at 5/6.
Galway went toe to toe with Kilkenny for large parts of the Leinster final. Joe Canning scored that incredible goal and it just highlights what an incredible player he is. Cork will know that and he’ll find it hard to shake off the attentions of the defence. Given the attention Joe is likely to get, I’m going for Cathal Mannion to be 1st Goalscorer at 8/1.