All Ireland Under 21 Hurling Championship Final preview

Lonesharkoy previews the All Ireland Under 21 Hurling final and he thinks Galway are a little overpriced to beat Waterford.

Plenty of people will travel to Semple Stadium later today hoping to see a top quality hurling match, but plenty more will travel in anticipation of a coronation. This Waterford under-21 side has been simply superb all year, following on from their outstanding performance at minor level three years ago when they beat Galway by eight points in the decider, while the individual brilliance of Austin Gleeson has also captivated the country over the course of a good summer for the sport of hurling.

For all that, there’s something distinctly odd about betting of the order of 1/6 in places, and as low as 1/9 elsewhere, about a Waterford victory in this contest. All Ireland finals are not supposed to have betting like that, and when we consider that Dublin are on offer at 2/5 for the football next week, those prices start to look like an over-reaction.

It’s not like Galway are no-hopers either. All Ireland minor finalists in 2013 and All Ireland minor winners last year is hardly the pedigree of a team that’s travelling to make up the numbers and while we all know about Gleeson, Patrick Curran and the Bennetts, it’s not as if Brian Molloy, Eanna Burke, Conor Whelan and Shane Cooney are mugs. There are decent hurlers on both sides here, the only difference is that there isn’t nearly as much hype about Galway.

There’s no getting away from the fact that the form in Leinster this year was poor, just as it was at senior and minor level. The balance of power has well and truly shifted to the south in that regard and if Galway are genuinely only a fraction better than Dublin, they won’t be winning any All Irelands later.

However we can’t forget that their contest with Dublin was Galway’s first outing of the year and any side will improve immeasurably on the back of getting their first championship game under their belts. Manager Tony Ward has made two changes to the team that beat Dublin which in itself suggests scope for improvement, while we can say with certainty that Waterford won’t have got much out of their turkey shoot against Antrim.

As a general rule, long odds on shots in underage games are not to be trusted – sides haven’t had the time to develop consistency and there is too much fluctuation in performance level from one day to the next. Sometimes we can justify short prices because a certain team has proven themselves to be of little use but that hasn’t happened here and while it’s not a bet that’s likely to win in the strictest sense of the word, 6/1 about a Galway win with Boylesports just cries out to be backed on a point of principle.

Recommended Bet

Galway to beat Waterford at 6/1 with Boylesports