Getting towards the business end of the Championship

As we get John Mullane's views on the provincial semi-finals

Kilkenny flexed their muscles last week and really showed that they have another gear they can reach whenever they want to. Dublin were up with them until the first minute of the second half, but once Brian Cody’s charges hit their stride, there was no stopping them. Yet another Leinster final.

This weekend, we find out their opponents. Galway play against Offaly while in Munster, Tipperary and Limerick clash in Thurles.

Galway vs Offaly – Leinster Championship semi final – 3.30 Portlaoise

Offaly managed to get out of the round robin and got lucky with their draw, otherwise they would’ve been playing Galway in the quarter final and not the semis. As it is, it’s the semi final, but the result will still be the same. This won’t be pretty.

Galway have made a bit of noise surrounding where their ‘home’ games are being played. Or rather, their lack of home games since moving to the Leinster Championship. They’ve not played a Championship game in Salthill for nearly a decade.

Offaly only lost once in the round robin and that was to a Westmeath side that Galway annihilated in the quarters. The handicap is 11 points and I don’t think Galway will have any trouble beating it at.

Tipperary vs Limerick – Munster Championship semi final – 4pm Thurles

Limerick are the massive outsiders for this game at. It’s their fourth time meeting Tipperary in Munster in the last four years but they’ve won two of the previous three. Their odds are possibly a little long given that history doesn’t really matter when it comes to Munster. It’s 70 minutes of hurling. Those two wins came against the odds as well. They’re the one team that can pull a win from nowhere.

But I don’t see them being able to go to Thurles and win on Sunday. They’ve struggled of late. They were comprehensively beaten by Waterford twice – once in the league semi final and then again in a challenge game in training recently enough. The word from the camp is that training’s not been the best.

I expect a performance from the Treaty, because Tipp are the old enemy. I expect a hostile game for 50-55 minutes but Tipp will have too much firepower after that. The handicap is five points, which I think looks good at odds of for Limerick to beat it. Seamus Callinan is my NAP for first goalscorer at . Double marked against Cork and he still managed to score heavily.