By Damien FitzHenry | All Ireland winner
Will lightning strike twice for Galway after they hammered Kilkenny 2-21 to 2-11 in the Leinster Final?
The odds are against it with Paddy Power where Kilkenny are 4/11 with Galway at 11/4 and the draw an early 12/1 in their online betting.
It’s easy to see why the Cats are such overwhelming favourites given their Championship pedigree.
This is their seventh successive All-Ireland final appearance and their 13th in 15 seasons. If they win they’ll lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup for the 34th time.
There’s probably the best team to play hurling in the last 70 years having won a remarkable 52 time in 60 championships matches, losing only seven times including this year’s Leinster Final and drawing just one.
Galway caught them on the hop that day. Moving corner forward Damien Hayes to midfield was a masterstroke on the day by manager Anthony Cunningham.
The Cats struggled with the tactic and the Tribesmen possession game and Galway surprised me – and themselves I’d say – with the winning margin.
But that was then and this is now and Kilkenny won’t fall for the same trick twice.
Galway were out of the traps like lightning that day. The kept the Cats scoreless for 20 minutes and were 2-12 to 0-4 ahead at half-time.
Kilkenny did well to get so many scores in the second half and will be in no mood to let Galway get away from them that quickly again.
There won’t be much in it and the handicap betting could be the way to go with Kilkenny (-4) evens, Galway (+4) 10/11 and the draw (-4) at 12/1.
But I have a gut feeling that Cunningham might have something up his sleeve again. He did it once so who’s to say he can’t do it again?
I said Galway would win the All-Ireland after the Leinster final. They’ve beaten Cork since in the semi’s and I’m sticking with them to beat Kilkenny again.
And all of Galway knows that one huge game will see the Liam MacCarthy Cup head West across the Shannon for the first time since 1988 when they retained their title by beating Tipperary.
In their firs goalscorer market Joe Canning is 5/1 to score the first goal in Paddy Power’s online betting and if he or anyone scores first and goes on to score a second Paddy Power will double the first goalscorer odds.
He’s in the shape of his life and was exceptional against Kilkenny in the Leinster Final.
He’s put the hard slog in over the Winter and that has reaped its own rewards.