Lonesharkoy previews the All Ireland Hurling Quarter Final between Waterford and Wexford and the Model County look the value with a 6 point handicap start.
If a gun was put to our heads, we’d probably back the Clare hurlers to round off a glorious weekend for the Banner County also, but we would be slightly concerned about the potential for a kick from Galway. They are a side with immense talent that seems utterly unable to deliver on that potential on a consistent basis.
Clare operate at a far higher level than the Tribesmen on a regular basis, even if they too have failed utterly to live up to the promise they showed in 2013, but Galway have shipped a lot of public criticism since their Leinster final defeat and that may make them slightly more dangerous opposition.
From a value perspective, the preceding quarter final between Waterford and Wexford looks far more interesting. The Munster final was a real jolt to Waterford, and traditionalists the length and breadth of Ireland have leapt on the opportunity to pour on the scorn, saying that this one defeat represents clear evidence that Derek McGrath and his players should abandon the county’s unique tactical approach. We’d like to think that McGrath will be able to see the bigger picture, given the immense progress that Waterford have made under his guidance. However it would be understandable if there were still a few doubts eating into the minds of the players.
In one sense, Wexford is the best possible opponent that any team could hope to meet at this stage of the season. Beating up on Offaly and Cork, two sides enduring some very difficult times, is hardly enough to suggest that there has been a complete turnaround in the fortunes of the Model County. Yet they are coming into this game in high spirits, while Wexford have tended to go well in games against Waterford in recent years.
Winning the game might be a bridge too far for Liam Dunne and his troops – there are just too many players in the side that aren’t hurling with consistency, particularly in the forward division, but the six point handicap might just be a little bit high.
It’s entirely possible that Waterford might do what all the pundits want and throw off the shackles, lining out with six forwards and playing old-fashioned long ball hurling, but it’s far more likely that they will look to tighten things up, and to go back to basics.
Expect a tight, tense game here where Waterford’s superior individual talent finally comes to the fore in the latter stages. On that basis, back Wexford plus six points at even money with Stan James or William Hill, while those looking for a small bet for the sake of interest could do a lot worse than to look at the Wexford/Waterford double result, on offer at 6/1 with Boylesports.
Wexford (+6) to beat Waterford at 1/1 with Stan James and William Hill