GAA-zilla: JOE’s look ahead to a monster weekend of GAA action
There is an exciting weekend of GAA action ahead with two All-Ireland hurling quarter finals and two football qualifiers for you to sink your teeth into.
Story of the weekend: The blockbuster hurling quarter final between Tipperary and Dublin is arguably the glamour tie of the round. The game is vital for both sides because exit from the championship at this stage would mean their seasons would be labelled failures. While reaching a semi-final would not mean they had great years by any stretch of the imagination, defeat on Sunday would call the future of the managers into question.
Dublin meekly gave up their Leinster crown to Kilkenny last time out in a performance absent of hunger, intensity and execution of the basic skills. They obviously had a game plan coming into the game where they would play a sweeper with a two man full-forward-line, but they failed to carry out the plan effectively and it was easy for the Kilkenny backs to defend.
Dublin will have a lot to prove on Sunday so we don't expect intensity and hunger to be issues in the game, but it must be questioned whether Dublin can bounce back strongly in what was a demolition from the Cats. Conal Keaney and Danny Sutcliffe are vital players for the Dubs and will need to put their best foot forward if they are to trump the Premier County in Sunday’s clash.
Dublin's Danny Sutcliffe gains possession ahead of Conor O'Mahoney. Image via INPHO
Tipperary are coming off the back of two morale boosting wins against Galway and Offaly which will surely give them added momentum in what promises to be a tightly contested affair on Sunday. Tipp showed impressive resilience against Galway coming from behind to put a disappointing Galway side to the sword. A routine win over Offaly got very little recognition around the country meaning that Tipp will be confident of a win without being over-hyped.
Tipp have such strength going forward that it is difficult to look past them in this tie. Expect a much improved performance from Dublin but I can see it not being enough and Tipp winning by a couple of points. The Premier County have grown throughout the qualifiers and seem to have the confidence that has been lacking over the past couple of seasons. Expect a titanic struggle between Liam Rushe and Patrick ‘Bonnar’ Maher in the centre forward/centre back channel.
Keep an eye out for: The Tipperary footballers on Saturday against Connacht finalists Galway. Tipp have been one of the revelations of the football championship this season putting in huge scores over Longford and Laois, scoring 5-34 between the two games to be exact.
Who would have thought five years ago that coming into a football qualifier we would be talking up Tipperary as possible favourites against Galway?
Tipperary have named an unchanged team to the one that defeated Laois last time out while Galway have made four changes to the side which lost out comprehensively to Mayo with Tomás Healy, Joss Moore, James Kavanagh and Michael Martin being promoted into the starting team.
The game promises to be a tense contest but Tipperary, similar to the hurlers, are on bit of a rise and their momentum is likely to be enough to bring them over the line.
Bet of the weekend: Our bet of the weekend is actually two bets, and they involve both Wexford midfielders. Lee Chin to score a goal at any time and Wexford to win is a whopping 16/1, while David Redmond to score a goal at any time and Wexford to win is 11/1. There are worst bets out there.
Will Lee Chin score a goal this weekend? Image via INPHO
Jim White mispronounced word of the weekend: While the great Jim White is an adaptable old soul, it must be said that he may struggle with the second name of a certain Jack Guiney lining out for Wexford. We can also imagine him struggling with Donal Óg Hodnett who is lining out corner forward for Cork against Sligo on Saturday.
Did you know?: That Galway’s Eddie Hoare does a mean Michael Ó Muircheartaigh impression and rumours are circulating that RTE are planning a swoop* for him to take over from the great man.
*RTE are not actually planning a move for the Galway man just yet…