Hurling Championships: Who needs what this weekend?

Given there is a straightforwardness to many of this weekend’s provincial round-robin permutations, it’s a case of calculators on standby, rather than at the ready.
Hurling Championships: Who needs what this weekend?

Ryan Taylor of Clare intercepts the sliotar ahead of Darragh Fitzgibbon of Cork during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 3 match between Cork and Clare at FBD Semple Stadium. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Given there is a straightforwardness to many of this weekend’s provincial round-robin permutations, it’s a case of calculators on standby, rather than at the ready.

In Munster, three teams - Cork, Tipperary, and Waterford - are in the hunt for that coveted third and final qualifying spot, with the Rebels very much in the box seat following their season-saving win at Walsh Park.

Across the way in Leinster, Galway are already certain of their place in the All-Ireland series, but don’t yet have both feet in the Leinster final. The aim, so, for Henry Shefflin’s charges is to secure provincial final involvement, whereas the first priority of Kilkenny, Dublin, and Wexford is to make sure they aren’t sitting in fourth place when the curtain falls on Saturday evening.

Munster

CORK (2pts, v Tipperary): A scarcely believable scenario entering last weekend’s games was that Cork would head into the final round in charge of their own destiny. Moving weekend, though, couldn’t have been kinder to Kieran Kingston’s charges. They know that victory over Tipperary advances them to an All-Ireland preliminary quarter-final against the Joe McDonagh champions. A draw will also suffice at Thurles, so long as Waterford don’t beat Clare.

WATERFORD (2pts, v Clare): Cork having the upper hand in the head-to-head stakes means Déise destiny will be decided in Thurles, not Ennis. Put simply, if Cork beat Tipperary, then the League champions are the big fallers of the round-robin phase.

Scenarios that see Liam Cahill’s charges scrape through include a Waterford win and Cork draw or a Waterford draw and Cork defeat. If both should lose on Sunday, scoring difference will then come into play. Waterford are currently -5, Cork -7.

TIPPERARY (0pts, v Cork): With zero points and a score difference of -19, Tipperary are the longest of long shots to be still alive in the championship come 6pm on Sunday.

Colm Bonnar’s side must send Cork back down the M8 nursing defeat, hope Munster finalists Clare do likewise to Waterford, and that the combined scorelines are enough to see the Premier leapfrog Cork and Waterford on score difference.

As we said, the longest of long shots.

Munster Hurling Championship table. (GAA.ie)
Munster Hurling Championship table. (GAA.ie)

Leinster

GALWAY (7pts, v Dublin): A win or draw secures Galway Leinster final involvement. They might still get there off the back of a defeat, were Wexford to avoid a similar fate in Nowlan Park.

KILKENNY (6pts, v Wexford): Despite a very healthy score difference of +55 score, Kilkenny will find themselves removed from the Liam MacCarthy race should they lose at home to struggling Wexford and Dublin take either a point or two from their travels west.

Far less complicated is Kilkenny's route to the Leinster final, Cody's men needing only to match whatever result Dublin manage in Salthill.

DUBLIN (6pts, v Galway): Given their score difference of -6 compares dreadfully to Kilkenny (+55) and Wexford (+26), a Dublin defeat and Wexford win means Mattie Kenny’s charges are done for.

A draw at Pearse Stadium will at the very least preserve the county’s championship involvement, while a third successive championship win over Galway returns Dublin to the provincial decider.

WEXFORD (4pts, v Kilkenny): A rarity is Kilkenny getting turned over on home soil in the championship, but if Wexford manage this feat, they are locked into third place.

A Wexford win and Dublin defeat means all three counties finish on six points, with Wexford's score difference taking them ahead of the Dubs, while a Dublin draw or win sees Wexford and Kilkenny finish level on six points, Wexford prevailing on the head-to-head rule.

Leinster Hurling Championship table. (GAA.ie)
Leinster Hurling Championship table. (GAA.ie)

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