GAA: Matchbox: weekend fixtures, analysis and betting verdicts for July 7 and July 8
Leinster Senior Hurling Championship final replay
Kilkenny v Galway
(tomorrow, Semple Stadium, 3pm)
KILKENNY and Galway served a timely reminder that the classics aren’t just confined to the Munster Championship as they shared 36 points last weekend.
Not for the first time this season, the Cats were saved by a late burst as Enda Morrissey and TJ Reid struck fine efforts to force a second meeting.
Michael Bublé will be Lár na Páirce at Croke Park this weekend, so the replay has been switched to Thurles – to much derision.
GAA President John Horan has said that he will look into ending July and August concerts at the Dublin venue but when the sliothar is thrown in tomorrow afternoon nobody will care too much.
Replays often go the way of the team with the most room to improve and that seems to be Galway after last week’s clash.
The All-Ireland holders performed badly on their own puck-outs while Kilkenny had the edge in the aerial duels.
Brian Cody’s side were also pumped for the match after being written off the first day, and it’s up to the managerial legend to get them as focussed again for tomorrow’s game.
Cody has a superb record when it comes to replays though having won five of the previous six, but this may prove to be a bridge too far.
Even though they were held last week, Galway still look a step ahead of the rest of the teams in the competition. A convincing performance should be a reminder that they remain the team to beat in the race for the Liam MacCarthy Cup.
Odds: Kilkenny: 9/4 D: 10/1 Galway: 4/9
All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship preliminary quarter-final
Carlow v Limerick
(tonight, Netwatch Cullen Park, 7pm)
THIS is a pressure-free zone for Carlow as they try and keep the good feeling alive after last week’s Joe McDonagh final win against Westmeath.
That victory ensures their spot in next year’s Leinster Championship regardless of the result here, so they can have a rattle at Limerick and see what happens.
They managed to upset the odds last weekend but they are much bigger underdogs this time around. Still, they showed some real quality against Westmeath with their full-forward line of Denis Murphy, James Doyle and Chris Nolan combining for 2-15 on the day.
Limerick’s heavy round five group loss to Clare means that they have to come through the preliminary route.
Manager John Kiely has made three changes with William O’Donoghue, who is set to make his full Championship debut, Richie McCarthy and Aaron Gillane coming into the starting side. Sean Finn, Darragh O'Donovan and Shane Dowling drop out for what should be a fairly routine win for the Treaty county.
Odds: H: 16/1 D: 40/1 A: 1/66
Westmeath v Wexford
(tonight, TEG Cusack Park, 7pm)
ON small margins do seasons change and Westmeath must still be cursing the moment when Aonghus Clarke missed a glorious goal chance just before half-time in last week’s Joe McDonagh final loss to Carlow.
That would have put them a goal ahead, but from the resulting puck-out, Carlow grabbed a goal through James Doyle to secure a lead that they would never relinquish.
That ensures tier-two hurling again next year for Michael Ryan’s side, but this match should still be a valuable learning experience.
Winning seems beyond them even if David Fitzgerald’s side never really hit any great heights in the Leinster group stage.
They’ll be looking for a boost after their U21 side, including senior starter Rory O’Connor, suffered a heart-breaking Leinster final loss to Galway on Wednesday night, the Tribesmen grabbing a goal in the last play.
Eight points separated these sides when they last clashed in the Championship three years ago and the Model county should be comfortable once again.
Odds: H: 14/1 D: 33/1 A: 1/40
All-Ireland Hurling U21 B Championship round one
Tyrone v Donegal
(today, Killyclogher, 1pm)
AFTER three All-Ireland C titles in a row, Donegal have moved up to B level and start with a derby against Tyrone.
Lorcan O’Toole has taken charge of the side this year having managed the Tir Chonaill minors previously.
Tyrone, meanwhile, will hope that home advantage can see them through. The winners will face Sligo in the quarter-final.
Down v Kerry
(today, TEG Cusack Park, 4.45pm)
DOWN face a difficult opener as they try to stop reigning champions Kerry from advancing to the last eight.
Ronan Sheehan’s side lost a Leinster Championship play-off to Antrim (1-23 to 3-14) back in March but this competition was always likely to have been their main priority.
Marc Fisher, Eoin Coulter, and Cormac Coulter are some of their main players, but they face a huge test.
Wicklow v Kildare
(today, Arklow, 1pm)
WICKLOW went all the way to last year’s final but lost out to Kerry in an entertaining final.
They will be aiming to go one step further this year and they should start out with a home win.
All-Ireland Senior Football Championship round four
Roscommon v Armagh
(today, O’Moore Park, 3pm)
ARMAGH came back from the dead against Clare but if their shooting doesn’t improve their season will come to an end this afternoon.
Roscommon manager Kevin McStay has made three changes from the team that lost to Galway in the Connacht final while it has been revealed that Michael Lennon is out for the rest of the season with a back injury. His brother Ciaran is also missing through injury but Cathal Compton has been passed fit.
Odds: Roscommon: 4/7 D: 8/1 Armagh: 15/8
Cork v Tyrone
(today, O’Moore Park, 5pm)
NIALL Morgan has returned to goals for Tyrone as the Red Hands chase their first Championship win over Cork.
Mickey Harte’s side have battled well to get past Meath, Carlow and Cavan, and their fans will be expecting them to step it up a gear at O’Moore Park.
Cork boss Ronan McCarthy has made four changes to the side that was hammered by Kerry in the Munster final. James Loughrey, who will be familiar with Tyrone from his Antrim days, Cian Kiely, Brian Hurley and Michael Hurley come into the starting side.
Odds: Cork: 10/3 D: 8/1 Tyrone: 1/3
Fermanagh v Kildare
(tonight, Pairc Tailteann, 7pm)
AFTER their famous win over Mayo last week, Kildare manager Cian O’Neill will be trying to get his side revved up again for this clash with Fermanagh.
It will be hard to reach those emotional heights though and that’s what the Erne county will be hoping to exploit.
They’ll also be attempting to frustrate, safe in the knowledge that the Lilywhites really struggle to break down a well-organised defence.
This should be an extremely tight contest and Fermanagh could edge it down the home straight.
Odds: Fermanagh: 5/2 D: 8/1 Kildare: 4/9
Monaghan v Laois
(tomorrow, Pairc Tailteann, 2pm)
MONAGHAN are preparing to meet Division Four opposition for the third round in a row but Laois are a much better outfit than Waterford and Leitrim.
Still it’s a match Malachy O’Rourke’s side should be winning as they attempt to complete their recovery from the Fermanagh loss by reaching the Super Eights. Their firepower should see them safely through.
Odds: Monaghan: 1/5 D: 12/1 Laois: 9/2
All-Ireland Junior Football Championship semi-finals
Kilkenny v Galway
(today, Nowlan Park, 4pm)
GALWAY defeated Leitrim by seven points and Mayo by a point to claim the Conancht title and Matt Duggan’s outfit look certain to have an All-Ireland final to look forward to as well.
Kilkenny won the British Junior title last month, defeating Scotland in the semi-final and Warwickshire in the final.
Manager Christy Walsh said that he would be disappointed if they weren’t competitive here but it’s hard to see the Cats living with Galway and a heavy beating could be on the cards.
Kildare v Kerry
(today, Pairc Tailteann, 4.45pm)
WITH 18 titles to their name, Kerry are the big-hitters in the All-Ireland Junior series but they should get a firm test of their credentials in Navan.
The Lilywhites won the Leinster title with a thrilling 2-17 to 2-15 win over Meath in the provincial final – Eoghan Lawless and Mark Nolan with their majors.
Kerry secured a fifth Munster title with a 2-14 to 1-15 win over Cork with Dan Daly and Thomas Hickey grabbing their goals.