Cork are the only county in hurling’s top tier with nothing to play for this weekend. Like an idling student they haven’t over exerted themselves but remain a hurl’s length ahead of those counties for whom survival rather than glory is the imperative.
They welcome a Dublin side to the banks of the Lee on Sunday in a game that presents a puzzle for punters and bookies that Mr Rubik would be proud of. Dublin have another significant milestone within their reach as a win could potentially see them reach their first national league final since 1946, but so much depends on Cork’s approach to the game and the personnel utilised by Denis Walsh.
Anthony Daly’s men are currently 10/1 to win the league while our opening price for them to beat Cork is 7/4. There’s likely to be some change in those prices when Cork announce their starting 15. If they opt for a similar defensive line up to that which suffered defeat against Wexford in their last outing then we are likely to shorten up the Dubs before the punters swamp us.
That Wexford win over Cork has added an unexpected drama to the relegation situation. Both Offaly and Wexfordare rank outsiders at odds of 13/2 and 6/1 respectively against Kilkenny and Tipperary. However, should one of the Leinster stragglers manage to take even a share of the points against their lofty opponents this weekend it will in all probability be enough to save them from the drop. If both are – as expected – beaten, then Offaly would stay in the top tier at Wexford’s expense on the ‘head-to-head’ rule.
Waterford need an awful lot of results to go their way for them to reach the league final, and their task won’t be aided by the expected absence of John Mullane and Richie Foley. Nor too will the promotion of the most over-qualified ‘Maor Caman-Uisce’ in the history of the game benefit them, as Joe Canning swaps his sideline bib for a maroon shirt this weekend to lead the Galway attack. If he’s back to fitness, he’ll take a lot of stopping. Galway are the nap this week at odds of 4/6.