Lonesharkoy previews the Leinster Club Hurling Championship and he is tipping Wexford side Oulart The Ballagh to finally land the prize.
Leinster Club SHC
Betting the Leinster senior club hurling championship a few days before the Kilkenny semi-finals may seem fraught with risk. However if we are to oppose Ballyhale Shamrocks, the time to do it is when there is a chance that they might get turned over – and O’Loughlin Gaels have every chance of doing just that this week.
Naturally Ballyhale are short priced favourites, as they would be against pretty much every opponent in club hurling such is their star quality, but there is plenty of depth in the O’Loughlin Gaels ranks; more than enough to cause problems for a Ballyhale side that has limped through the majority of their fixtures this year. Admittedly their quarter final win over Fenians hinted at a return to form, but it’s too early to say that they are worthy of their status as 2/7 shots this weekend.
Even if they prevail, 11/8 could yet be no more than a fair price. They’ll have to play a county final and travel away to the winners of the Offaly vs Dublin champions contest as well to reach a Leinster final, and there are no tap in fixtures in that list.
While their county teams have slid into irrelevance, no discussion of Leinster club hurling is complete without a look at the situation in Offaly, and that’s all the more since their 2015 champions can reach a Leinster final without leaving O’Connor Park in Tullamore. Kilcormac-Killoughey were well beaten by St Rynaghs last time out and while logic would suggest that this would open the door for Coolderry to step back into the breach, there was a world of contrast between the two semi-final performances. Coolderry were lifeless and took full advantage of two goals in a minute to suffocate a toothless Birr side, while St Rynaghs were utterly explosive, delivering on their undoubted potential. The bookies have Coolderry as favourites for the final but St Rynaghs look very strong and won’t be easily beaten by any opponent.
In the other half of the draw, everything is shaping up for Oulart-the-Ballagh to bounce back in style. They relinquished their Wexford title to Shelmaliers last year, but they’ve been as imperious as ever this summer and are head and shoulders above the best of the rest in Carlow, Laois and Westmeath. Winning Leinster has proved to be a bridge too far for Oulart so far. However Boylesports’ odds of 11/4 look far more accurate than the 5/1 on offer from Powers.
Take Oulart as the main bet, but also keep St Rynaghs on side as well – they are at least as impressive as Kilcormac-Killoughey were when they burst onto the scene three years ago, and that campaign ended in Croke Park in March.
1 point each way Oulart-the-Ballagh to win the Leinster club SHC, 5/1, Powers
0.5 points win St Rynaghs to win the Leinster club SHC, 16/1, Powers