Hurling Matchbox: All to play for in Leinster and Munster
By Liam Maguire
Leinster SHC round four
Laois v Galway (O'Moore Park, 5pm)
THE narrow defeat of Kilkenny a fortnight ago put Galway in a favourable position for a Leinster final spot ahead of today's game and their final round clash with current group leaders Dublin. Laois have no points to show for their efforts thus far and will fear another hammering at the hands of superior opposition.
Odds: H: 20/1, D: 40/1, A: 1/100
Westmeath v Wexford (Cusack Park, 6.30pm)
WEXFORD are still in the running for a Leinster final spot – just about – following their morale boosting hammering of Laois and they will be expecting to pick up another two points with relative ease this evening. Westmeath are, like Laois, without a win in this year's Leinster series and next weekend's game between the two will probably decide who finishes bottom of the group.
Odds: H: 14/1, D: 28/1, A: 1/50
Dublin v Kilkenny (Parnell Park, 7pm, live on Sky Sports Arena)
DUBLIN are in pole position for a Leinster final spot with three wins from three, but this evening's meeting with the Cats presents their sternest test to date. Kilkenny will still be smarting following their narrow loss to Galway at Pearse Stadium and the Dubs should be wary of a ferocious response from Brian Cody's men.
Odds: H: 2/1, D: 9/1, A: 1/2
Joe McDonagh Cup round four
Kerry v Offaly (Austin Stack Park, 1pm)
OFFALY manager Michael Fennelly has said it would be a failure if his side don't make the Joe McDonagh final, and they have a big chance to stake their claim on that spot this afternoon. Both sides have won two from three so far and the winners of today's game would be favourites to make up a final pairing with Antrim.
Odds: H: 15/8, D: 9/1, A: 1/2
Christy Ring Cup round five
Kildare v Sligo (Newbridge, 1pm)
KILDARE have already qualified for the Christy Ring final while Sligo's status is safe for next year, so this is something of dead rubber in Newbridge.
Odds: H: 1/100, D: 40/1, A: 20/1
Mayo v Derry (MacHale Park, 1pm)
FOLLOWING the controversy, this do-or-die match will have the suitable stage of the Mayo county ground this afternoon. Derry and Mayo are neck-and-neck in the battle to take on Kildare in the Christy Ring final, with the winner in today's final round game progressing (If it were to finish a draw, Derry would advance by virtue of a superior scoring difference).
Derry registered a big win over London last weekend and confidence will be high in the Oak Leaf camp going in to today's game.
Odds: H: 6/4, D: 9/1, A: 8/13
London v Wicklow (Ruislip, 1pm)
WICKLOW have had a miserable year to date but they could still rescue their Christy Ring status today if they were to beat London.
Odds: H: 8/13, D: 9/1, A: 20/1
Nickey Rackard Cup round five
Fermanagh v Roscommon (Brewster Park, 3.30pm)
ROSCOMMON have already qualified for the Nickey Rackard final while Fermanagh have secured their status thanks to an earlier victory over bottom-of-the-table Warwickshire.
Odds: H: 20/1, D: 9/1, A: 8/13
Tyrone v Donegal (Healy Park, 3.30pm)
WITH Donegal one point ahead of Tyrone in second place, this afternoon's game is a massive fixture for both counties. Avoid defeat, and Donegal are into another Nickey Rackard final. A home victory, and it will be Tyrone facing Roscommon in Croke Park next weekend.
Odds: H: 9/4, D: 9/1, A: 2/5
Warwickshire v Armagh (Páirc na hÉireann, 3.30pm)
ARMAGH must avoid defeat today to save their Nickey Rackard skin, but after their narrow victory over Fermanagh last time out, Terence McNaughton's men should have enough to see off the exiles in Birmingham.
Odds: H: 20/1, D: 10/1, A: 2/5
Lory Meagher Cup round five
Cavan v Longford (Breffni Park, 12.30pm)
WINLESS Cavan face a daunting final day task up against top of the table Longford.
Odds: H: 40/1, D: 20/1, A: 1/100
Monaghan v Lancashire (Inniskeen, 12.30pm)
MONAGHAN'S season has nose-dived since they were deducted four points for fielding an ineligible player but they should still have enough to see off Lancashire.
Odds: H: 8/13, D: 9/1, A: 20/1
Leitrim v Louth (Carrick-on-Shannon, 12.30pm)
A LOUTH win in Carrick-on-Shannon would see them advance to the Lory Meagher final at the expense of their Connacht hosts.
Odds: H: 2/5, D: 9/1, A: 9/4
Munster SHC round three
Waterford v Cork (Walsh Park, 2pm, live on RTÉ2)
WITH nothing to show from their two games to date, Cork know they must take victory tomorrow afternoon if their Championship summer is to last beyond next weekend. The Rebels lost to Clare last time out, while Waterford haven't played since their defeat to Limerick three weeks ago.
When these sides met in the National League final at the start of April, it was Waterford who came out on top at Semple Stadium and the Déise could have the edge again tomorrow.
Odds: 2/5, D: 101, A: 5/2
Clare v Limerick (Cusack Park, 4pm, live on RTÉ2)
LIMERICK are sitting pretty at the top of the provincial group with three wins from three but all is not necessarily rosy in the Treaty garden. On Tuesday, it was revealed that a member of the Limerick panel had been arrested outside a city centre pub the day before and the county board said it had dealt with the player concerned for breaching team protocols.
However, what is thrown at Limerick seems to have no long-term impact and they may emerge from Ennis with their unbeaten record intact.
Odds: H: 15/8, D: 9/1, A: 8/15