Josh Cogley answers his own predictions on a weekend of hurling.
The big teams all came through with impressive performances in round 3 of the Allianz hurling league, with all of the favoured teams recording comfortable victories.
The biggest story of the weekend was Kilkenny recording their first points of the campaign so far, as they saw off Cork in Nowlan Park. The Cats looked much improved from their tepid earlier performances, showing a much-improved scoring touch. Richie Hogan bagged 0-5 from play in a Man of the Match performance, ably supported by Walter Walsh and Richie Leahy, contributing 0-3 each. TJ Reid must have been delighted to finally get some aid in the scoring department. Cork battled manfully in the first half, but in classic Kilkenny fashion, Brian Cody’s charges came out like a freight train after half time to ease to a seven point win.
Tipperary continue to prove themselves the best team in the country week after week. This time, it was Clare’s turn to feel their wrath. Despite the absence of top players James Barry, Seamus Callanan and Bonnar Maher from the starting 15, they were far too good for Clare. Lead by the über impressive McGrath brothers, who finished the game with 0-13 between them, Tipp were always able to find scores at crucial moments to keep themselves beyond the reach of a brave Clare team, who despite leading at the break by a point, never really looked like beating the All Ireland champions.
To continue division 1A’s theme of the weekend, the clash between Dublin and Waterford was also a game of two very different halves, with the men from the capital putting in a strong first half performance, capped by a 19th minute goal from Donal Burke to take a two point lead at half time. Their advantage would not last long however, as Waterford full forward Shane Bennett capitalised on a mistake from Dublin goalkeeper Conor Dooley to plunder a goal two minutes after half time. Waterford kept that lead until the final whistle. Waterford’s scorer in chief was the ultra-accurate Padraig Mahoney, who finished the game with 0-12 to his name. Hurler of the year Austin Gleeson also had a great second half, and contributed greatly to the victory, which moves the Deise to second place in the league table.
In division 1B, the stronger counties registered dominant victories. Galway, with the help of the returning Joe Canning, put Laois to the sword in Salthill to record a facile twenty six point victory, their second such winning margin of the campaign so far. Wexford had a star forward return also, with Jack Guiney notching 1-1 in his return to competitive intercounty hurling after two years in the wilderness. Wexford comfortably dispatched a spirited Kerry outfit in Wexford Park. Limerick however did not have things so easy against heavy underdogs Offaly. Shane Dooley scored a magnificent 2-11 to inspire his teammates to take the fight to a listless Limerick. Unfortunately, it was not to be for the Faithful county, as there ill-discipline allowed Limerick to rack up enough points to limp to an unimpressive 1-25 to 3-14 win.
Kilkenny 0-22 Cork 0-15
Tipperary 0-28 Clare 0-21
Dublin 1-17 Waterford 2-19
Galway 3-31 Laois 1-11
Wexford 3-18 Kerry 0-12
Limerick 1-25 Laois 3-15