Ray Flanagan previews the hurling final
Thought for the day: The last Limerick man to lift the Liam McCarthy cup was Eamonn Grimes in 1973. And the horse named after him won the Galway Plate in 2001.
While I am not happy with an August decider (the first Sunday in September is the rightful date for the hurling final) it is what it is.
An interesting game in-store and a novel pairing of Galway and Limerick who last contested the decider back in 1980, a final famous for the winning speech of John Connolly. Curiously Limerick have not won since 1973 despite producing numerous good teams, while Galway endured many years of hurt before breaking their 29-year hoodoo 12 months ago.
It is fair to say Galway have not been quite as good in 2018 as they were in 2017, while the Limerick boys are building momentum coming into the final on the backs of wins over Tipperary, Cork and Kilkenny something they have never achieved before in the same year. Galway were lucky to get over Clare in both semi-finals despite having led by a big margin twice and a similar level of performance will not be good enough to beat the Shannonsiders this afternoon. Limerick have a powerful team all over the field and possess some dangerous forwards including Gillane and Mulcahy while Shane Dowling made a huge impact from off the bench against Cork.
I think where Galway may have a slight edge is with their defence where the likes of Daithi Burke, Mannion and Touhy are probably slightly stronger markers than their Limerick counterparts, while the Galway forwards will provide Limerick with a more potent threat than they have encountered all year.
Limerick are a serious team and they will give it a right rattle, but I think Galway will find their best performance of the year and achieve the two in a row.
Strong man of the match contenders for me include Johnny Glynn who is the one man on the Galway team who is playing much better in 2018 than last year, while I have a suspicion there could be a really big day in Conor Whelan.
For Limerick, Cian Lynch is a seriously talented hurler and could well boss midfield, while Shane Dowling will be a massive threat coming from the bench and could easily rattle in a late consolation goal.
3 pts –Galway to win by 1 to 6 points-6-4 Boyle Sports
1 pt-Jonathan Glynn- Rte Man of Match-14-1 P Power
2 pts –Jonathan Glynn-Man of Match Nomination-9-2 P Power
1 pt -Conor Whelan-Man of Match-12-1 P Power
0.5 pts Conor Whelan to score 2 or more goals-10-1 P Power
1 pt -Cian Lynch-Man of Match Nomination-5-1 P Power
1.5 pts- Shane Dowling to score the last goal-8-1 P Power.