GAA Football & Hurling Championships (15th – 16th June)

Roscommon manager Anthony Cunningham with Galway manager Kevin Walsh. Both of these men will be hoping to claim the Connacht Title on Sunday afternoon.

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

After last weekend’s action-packed 18 games, we’re back down to 7 games this weekend between football and hurling.

However, even though we have less games, there is arguably more at stake this weekend.

The first Provincial Final takes place with Galway and Roscommon battling it out for Connacht Football honours. This game will be televised live on RTÉ2 on Sunday afternoon (4pm).

On Saturday, Kilkenny take on Wexford in a crucial final round-robin Leinster Hurling Championship game and it will be televised live on Sky Sports (7pm).

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

Connacht Football Championship Final – Galway v Roscommon (Throw-in @ 4pm, live on RTÉ2, on 16/06):

Remarkably, this is the fourth year in a row that Galway have played Roscommon in the Connacht decider. Galway won last year by 4 points.

Kevin McStay had the Rossies playing attractive football in the last few years but they seem to be a different animal altogether under Anthony Cunningham this season. He has instilled a real belief in these Roscommon players and they are definitely a more physically imposing side under Cunningham’s stewardship.

Cunningham has really freshened things up this year and the starting team is quite different to last year’s final. The Daly brothers, Niall, Conor and Ronan, will make up half of the Roscommon back line, and have added serious physicality to their defence.

Conor Cox who has been one of the finds of the Championship has been in quite brilliant form for the Rossies. The Kerry native gave Mayo’s Brendan Harrison a torrid time in the last round and scored 5 points (3 from play).

Enda Smith has been a key player for Roscommon over the last few years and the fact that he is fit to start on Sunday after only coming on as a sub against Mayo is a big boost for them.

Roscommon’s overall performance was excellent that day and, if they bring the same intensity on Sunday, they have a real chance.

Galway are favourites for this contest, and, to their credit, they have earned the favourites tag with their dominance and consistency in Connacht in the last number of years.

In the absence of full forward Damien Comer, who is still injured, the Tribesmen’s go-to men in the forward line will certainly be Shane Walsh and Ian Burke. These are two extremely talented footballers and will take some watching.

Tom Flynn has the aerial ability to win primary possession for Galway in midfield, while their corner backs Eoghan Kerin and Liam Silke are likely to be tasked with man-marking jobs.

In this game a lot will depend on how much change the Rossies can get out of Galway’s stern defensive system.

I think that this will be a close contest, so for me Roscommon with a four-point head start is good value for your accumulators at 8/11.

Verdict: Roscommon +4 (Handicap Betting) @ 8/11 

Leinster Hurling Championship – Wexford v Kilkenny (Throw-in @ 7pm, live on Sky Sports, on 15/06):

Kilkenny travel to Wexford Park in what is a must-win game for both sides.

A win for either team will secure a Leinster Final spot. There are several permutations that could arise, a draw between Kilkenny and Wexford for instance and a Dublin win over Galway would mean scoring difference would come into play.

But, make no mistake about it, both Kilkenny and Wexford will be going hell for leather to get the win on Saturday evening.

T.J. Reid, who for me is the best hurler in the country at the moment, put in arguably his best ever performance in a Kilkenny shirt last Sunday despite finishing on the losing side. He scored 2-11 (2-5 from play) and his second goal in particular was top class.

I have no doubt that Davy Fitzgerald will have his Wexford side well motivated as it is win or bust for them. This is a big game for Davy himself as it feels like this will be his last year over the Slaneysiders and he would love to make a real impression on this year’s Championship.

If Wexford are to reach the Leinster Final for the second time in three years, they will need strong performances from their key forwards, Lee Chin, Rory O’Connor and Conor McDonald.

I would expect Wexford’s Matthew O’Hanlon to pick up Walter Walsh like he has done in the past. This will be a key battle as O’Hanlon will be keen on curbing Walsh’s influence on the game.

I think Kilkenny will have too much quality for Wexford and should get over the line, in what should be a proper do-or-die Leinster Championship match. T.J. Reid is in unplayable form at the moment and he can be the difference between the two sides.

Verdict: Kilkenny @ 8/13

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

(Saturday 15th of June – Sunday 16th of June)

Munster Hurling Championship:

Tipperary v Limerick Verdict: Limerick @ 6/5 (Sun)
Clare v Cork Verdict: Clare +6 (Handicap Betting) @ 8/11 (Sun)

Leinster Hurling Championship:

Dublin v Galway Verdict: Dublin +3 (Handicap Betting) @ 4/5 (Sat)

Joe McDonagh Cup:

Kerry v Offaly Verdict: Offaly @ 5/6 (Sat)
Laois v Westmeath Verdict: Laois +1 (Handicap Betting) @ 11/10 (Sat)

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*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article