The most eagerly awaited All-Ireland hurling final in years is finally upon us.
This year’s championship has been magnificent and everyone is hoping for more of the same this weekend.
Here are some of the bets to look out for. We have rated the bets from 1-5 with one being dodgy and five being a sure thing.
Systems against size
This clash will be an ultimate clash of styles. Waterford’s system of play and use of a sweeper has been a talking point all summer.
Results are the ultimate judge of this and they speak for themselves. What has been a outstanding feature of their play this summer has been their ability to score goals.
They have scored nine goals in their last three games. They have not however, come up against a defence as good as Galway. Their size will make it more difficult for Waterford’s primary ball winners to secure the 50/50 balls you needed to get over the line in All-Ireland finals.
In Daithí Burke and Gearoid McInerney they have an excellent spine to their team. We cannot see their defence being opened up like the Cork backs were in the semi-final.
Galway’s inability to score goals has been a talking point leading into this game. They have not scored a goal in their last three outings. We believe that this game will be very tight and we are not expecting a goal fest. We will have a 2.5 point stake on under 2.5 goals at 8/5.
They are not many people in this country who would begrudge Waterford legends Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh and Kevin Moran a well deserved All-Ireland medal. Their form has been exceptional all summer. In four of Waterford’s five games this year, both men have got on the score-sheet.
We expect both players to get their name on the board again on Sunday. Along with the second favourite for Hurler of the Year Jamie Barron who is in exceptional form, we will have a one-point stake on Moran, Walsh and Barron to all score at 9/4.
A consequence of the sweeper system is that it encourages teams to shoot from further out the field. Half-backs and midfielders will have more opportunity to shoot and from this we look at markets on players in this area to score.
Johnny Coen, Aidan Harte and David Burke are well able to score from distance. Darragh Fives and De Burca likewise for Waterford. We feel the best option here is a 2.5 point punt on Pádraig Mannion to score over 0.5 points for Galway at 5/6 with Boyles.
He scored a fantastic free against Tipperary and well able to shoot from distance.
History will be made and a famine will end no matter what happens Sunday. As for a potential winner, we have a slight inkling towards a Galway win but not with enough confidence to tip it here.
Let’s hope this Sunday gives this hurling championship the finale it deserves. Best of luck to both teams.
Bear in the Square, Pundit Arena
Check out the latest episode of The 16th Man where we previewed the All-Ireland hurling final between Waterford and Galway.