National League Week Football & Hurling Previews

Lonesharkoy previews this Sunday's matches in the League Football and Hurling.

For all Galway’s dysfunctionality, they have arguably caused Kilkenny more problems in the Brian Cody era than any other county. Cork and Tipperary both had periods in which they were strong enough to challenge the Cats for a few seasons in succession, yet only Galway always retained that ability to come from nowhere and pull off a shock win, as they have done in the league and the Leinster championship occasionally.

It’s for this reason that Kilkenny are 8/15 to win this weekend with Paddy Power and 10/11 about Kilkenny minus two points is generally available, which looks like a good start to a weekend betting.

Over the past couple of seasons the top flight of the hurling league has been heralded for throwing up some remarkable results, but the simple truth of the matter is that home advantage has been quite significant. Dublin upset Kilkenny at Nowlan Park last year but that result was very much an anomaly – under Cody, Kilkenny have defended their home field very well as a rule, and their record at the ground is exceptional – even by their own standards.

Galway will travel without fear and those looking to make a case for the Tribesmen would argue that things were going reasonably well for them against Dublin until Joe Canning had to be withdrawn, however their continued dependence on the Portumna man is getting tiresome at this stage. Most of their forwards are either All Star winners or nominees at this stage, they should be made of sterner stuff. The jury is very much out on them this year under Michael O’Donoghue and when they have to travel to Kilkenny to take on the All Ireland champions, a side who are bringing Cillian Buckley, Kieran Joyce, Jackie Tyrrell and Richie Hogan into the starting fifteen, a two point spread seems low. For good measure, anyone so inclined could do worse than backing Kilkenny to win by 7-9 points inclusive with Bet365, offered at 13/2.

No game in the Allianz football league is more fascinating than Monaghan vs Mayo, with so much at stake for the reigning Connacht champions. It’s all very well to say that things will eventually come good for any side with the talent that Mayo possess and there was nothing shameful about the way that they lost their last two games (including falling narrowly short with our backing last week!), however until they find some attacking rhythm, they simply can’t be trusted.

There was nothing wrong with Monaghan’s attacking play in Croke Park last week and while there were those who would argue that their dependence on Conor McManus is a problem, it’s hardly unreasonable to be dependent on a player who is arguably the best player in Gaelic football right now.

Monaghan’s mobility around the middle third was superb in Croke Park last week, but arguably they might not be suited by returning to Clones this weekend. St Tiernach’s Park is a big field but it can be a slower surface, particularly at this time of year, and that will make scores quite hard to come by. Neither side poses a massive goal threat to be honest so with zero or one goals the most likely outcome, the total points line of 29.5 looks a touch high. Opt for under 29.5 points at 5/6 with Paddy Power.