Preview: Leinster and Munster SHC Round 5
Saturday, May 21
Leinster SHC round 5
Kilkenny v Wexford, UPMC Nowlan Park, 6pm – SKY
Wexford’s unexpected draw last weekend against Westmeath means the maths are simple for them going into their final round match against Kilkenny on Saturday – they must win to clinch a place in the Premliminary All-Ireland Quarter-Final.
There’s even a mathematical chance of qualifying for a Leinster Final but that would require Galway beating Dublin and Wexford beating Kilkenny by 15 points.
As for Kilkenny, they are guaranteed a place in the Leinster Final if they beat Wexford. A draw with Wexford would also suffice for a Leinster Final spot if Galway draw with or defeat Dublin. If Kilkenny lose to Wexford they can still qualify for the All-Ireland Preliminary Quarter-Final as long as Galway defeat Dublin.
Kilkenny will be eliminated from the Championship if they lose to Wexford and Dublin draw with or defeat Galway.
Wexford never fear Kilkenny, but from what we’ve seen so far in the Championship they just don’t possess the same firepower that the Cats do.
Kilkenny have scored an impressive 13-99 in four matches whereas Wexford have hit 7-84. If they’re to come away from UPMC Nowlan Park with a win, they’ll have to play with an attacking edge we haven’t seen so far from them in the campaign.
Galway v Dublin, Pearse Stadium, 6pm - GAAGO
Table-toppers Galway are already assured of playing in the All-Ireland series, but they’ll be going hard for the win or draw that would clinch a place in the Leinster Final.
As for Dublin, a draw would ensure they at least qualify for a Preliminary All-Ireland Quarter-Final. A draw would even be enough for a place in the Leinster Final were Wexford to beat Kilkenny.
If Dublin lose to Galway they can still qualify for the Preliminary All-Ireland Quarter-Final as long as Kilkenny defeat Wexford.
The unbeaten Tribesmen have been very consistent so far in the championship, but you couldn’t say the same about Dublin.
They impressed in their victory over Wexford especially, but were very poor when losing to Kilkenny by 17 points in their last match.
Team manager, Mattie Kenny, will be demanding a response from players after that harrowing day at the office, but the form-line favours Galway.
Laois v Westmeath, MW Hire O'Moore Park, 6pm
The meeting of Westmeath and Laois is more than likely a relegation play-off. A draw is enough to see Westmeath retain their Liam MacCarthy Cup status whereas pointless Laois need a win.
The only scenario that would see the bottom team in Leinster avoid relegation to the Joe McDonagh Cup would be if Kerry were to win the Joe McDonagh Cup this year, which is only a slim possibility given the current picture going into the final round of that competition.
Were that scenario to come to pass though, then no team would be relegated from the Leinster Championship. Instead Kerry would play the bottom-placed team in the Munster Championship for a place in the 2023 Munster Hurling Championship.
Westmeath will be on a high after their draw with Wexford last weekend and if they play to the same level in this match they’ll have a great chance of victory.
Laois have home advantage, though, and as they showed in the League this year have a happy habit of pulling out a big performance when it’s most needed.
Sunday, May 22
Munster SHC round 5
Clare v Waterford, Cusack Park, Ennis, 4pm - RTE1
Waterford need to beat Clare on Sunday to have a chance of making it through to the All-Ireland Preliminary Quarter-Finals but even that won’t be enough unless Tipperary do them a favour by drawing with or defeating Cork.
Waterford have to better Cork’s result because if both teams win and finish level on four points then Cork will be ranked above Waterford on the head to head rule having beaten them in Walsh Park last weekend.
Their chances of winning this match may be helped by the fact that Clare are already through to the Munster SHC Final which gives manager Brian Lohan the luxury of resting some of his front-line stars.
The Banner won’t want to lose any of the momentum they’ve built either though, so Waterford will have to earn whatever they take from the game.
Tipperary v Cork, FBD Semple Stadium, 4pm - RTE2
Cork’s destiny remains in their own hands. If they beat Tipperary they’re through to a preliminary quarter-final against the Joe McDonagh Cup champions. A draw would also suffice if Waterford draw with Clare, as Cork would finish above Waterford on the head to head rule
Even though they’ve lost all three matches they’ve played, Tipperary still have a slight chance of finishing third in Munster if they can beat Cork and Clare beat Waterford. That would leave Tipperary, Cork, and Waterford all on two points each, at which point they would be separated by scoring difference.
Currently Tipperary’s scoring difference is -19, Cork’s is -7, and Waterford’s is -5. So it would require Tipperary beating Cork by seven points and Waterford losing to Clare by eight points to leapfrog both of their rivals and finish in third place.
Tipperary have home advantage but Cork love playing in Semple Stadium, so it probably doesn’t count for much.
The Rebels will have a pep in their step after beating Waterford last time out, and if they match that performance will fancy their chances of clipping an injury-ravaged Tipp team.