GAA Football & Hurling Championships (1st – 2nd June)

Limerick's Aaron Gillane tussles with Waterford's Noel Connors in this year's League Final.

Éanna Atkinson looks forward to this weekend’s GAA Football & Hurling Championship action

In last week’s featured games I went for the two outsiders with a few points head start and they both came up trumps.

Roscommon recorded a surprise one-point victory over Mayo in the football, and Wexford managed to draw with Galway in the hurling and were unlucky not to cause a big upset themselves in the end.

This Sunday, the first Munster Hurling Championship game of the day comes from Walsh Park as Waterford host the All-Ireland Champions Limerick.

Later in the day, in-form Tipperary make the trip to Cusack Park in Ennis to take on Clare.

Both of these games will be televised live on RTÉ2 and should make for enthralling viewing. Hurling takes centre stage this week for the below previews.

Check out all of Bar One Racing’s GAA Hurling betting here

Munster Hurling Championship – Waterford v Limerick (Throw-in @ 2pm, live on RTÉ2, on 02/06):

John Kiely’s Limerick will be eager to get back in Championship action on Sunday, after their unexpected 7-point opening round defeat by the hands of Cork.

Waterford, like Limerick, are also without a win in this year’s Championship. However their situation is a little more perilous, as they have lost their first two games. They were beaten narrowly by Clare at home and last time out they were comprehensively dispatched by Tippeary in Semple Stadium.

This is a repeat of this year’s league final where Limerick prevailed by 8 points. The big difference between the teams that day was Aaron Gillane’s brilliance. He scored 1-9, 1-5 from play, and his goal was sheer class.

Noel Connors who is usually a very sticky corner back was marking Gillane that day and could be tasked with picking up the Limerick danger-man again. Páraic Fanning will be hoping that Connors can curb Gillane’s influence better this time around.

Another key player for Limerick is Cian Lynch. He did not have one of his better games against Cork and that seemed to have a knock-on effect on the whole team as that game wore on. His industrious work and slick passing in the middle third is exceptional when he is at his best.

Waterford’s answer to Cian Lynch is Jamie Barron. He is a similar player to Lynch in that he links defence to attack brilliantly and he has a massive engine for a relatively small man. If Barron and Lynch pick each other up in midfield, this could be a great battle.

If Waterford are to cause an upset this weekend they will be looking to their star player Austin Gleeson to have a stormer. Sometimes Gleeson drifts in and out of games and the Déise will be hoping they can get a full 70 minutes out of him on Sunday.

I feel that this is going to be a tough ask for Waterford. I think that John Kiely will get a better reaction out of this Limerick side and they can cover the -2 handicap. They have the more dangerous forwards, and if they go with a full forward line of Graeme Mulcahy, Séamus Flanagan and Aaron Gillane, they will be hard to stop.

Verdict: Limerick -2 (Handicap Betting) @ 4/6 
Value Bet: Score 1st, Lead HT & Win – Limerick @ 9/4

Munster Hurling Championship – Clare v Tipperary (Throw-in @ 4pm, live on RTÉ2, on 02/06):

In stark contrast to the first game of the day, both Clare and Tipperary go into this game with 100% records. Clare won their opener away to Waterford and Tipperary have brushed aside both Cork and Waterford.

Tipperary were very impressive against Waterford and although they were aided by Conor Gleeson’s first half red card, they always looked like they had too much for the Déise.

We could see a bit of a shootout in this game, as both forward lines have serious firepower and can pick holes in the opposition’s defence. The winning of this game will probably come down to which defence can contain their opponent’s forwards the best.

Clare will be looking to the likes of Tony Kelly and Peter Duggan in the half forward line to have big performances, while in the full forward line their main danger-men are John Conlon and Shane O’Donnell.

Tony Kelly at centre half forward will have the license to roam all over the field, and the level of his performance could have a real say in the outcome of this contest. Tipperary will have to give someone the task of tagging Kelly for the full 70 minutes, and Brendan Maher would be a suitable candidate for this job.

Tipperary’s forwards have been in red-hot form so far this Summer. Captain Séamus Callanan along with John McGrath, Jason Forde and the rejuvenated John “Bubbles” O’Dwyer have all kept the scoreboard ticking over in the first two games. Clare will need to get to grips with these four players in particular if they want to pick up a valuable win on Sunday.

I think this could be a very close game. For me, both of these teams are All-Ireland contenders. Tipp are obviously flying at the moment, but Clare have the players to really test them. The fact that the game is in Ennis is a big plus for the Banner.

This one could go right to the wire, so for that reason I think Clare with a two point head start is good value @ 4/6. For punters looking for a little more value, we could see the first draw in this year’s Munster Hurling Championship, which is priced @ 8/1.

Verdict: Clare +2 (Handicap Betting) @ 4/6
Value Bet: Draw @ 8/1

Check out all of Bar One Racing’s GAA Football betting here


(Saturday 1st of June – Sunday 2nd of June)

Ulster Football Championship:

Cavan v Armagh Verdict: Armagh @ 13/8 (Sun) *Value Bet of the weekend. I feel that 13/8 is a big price for Armagh. For me, these teams are a lot more evenly matched than the odds suggest. So this could be a nice boost for your accumulators.*

Leinster Football Championship:

Longford v Kildare Verdict: Kildare -1 (Handicap Betting) @ 4/6 (Sun)

Munster Football Championship:

Cork v Limerick Verdict: Cork -5 (Handicap Betting) @ 8/13 (Sat)
Clare v Kerry Verdict: Clare +15 (Handicap Betting) @ 4/7 (Sat)

Leinster Hurling Championship:

Carlow v Dublin Verdict: Dublin -7 (Handicap Betting) @ 5/6 (Sun)

Joe McDonagh Cup:

Offaly v Antrim Verdict: Offaly @ 8/15 (Sat)

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*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article