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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Meyler can work his magic and get Cork off to a winning start

Dublin should crush Offaly

Aaron Byrne of Dublin (right) battles for the ball with Longford’s Dessie Reynolds
1 of 1

Kilkenny have lost their first league outing to Waterford for the last two years on the trot, while Cork exploded from the traps in 2017 with a wide-margin win over Clare, so a home win looks on the cards in the Division 1A opener at Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Saturday night.

Don't read anything into the Rebels' surprise loss to Kerry in the Munster Senior Hurling League as a third-string side was out that day.

New boss John Meyler has made a statement of intent with his starting 15 by including goalkeeper Anthony Nash, who lines out for his club Kanturk in their rescheduled All-Ireland IHC semi-final against Armagh champions Middletown in Newbridge earlier in the day.

Cork have more firepower up front with Alan Cadogan, Seamus Harnedy and Shane Kingston expected to make the difference and the fact that Kilkenny had so many in Fitzgibbon Cup action this week is hardly a positive. 

There are some good noises coming from the Dublin hurling camp and their panel has never looked so strong. What better way to begin the campaign than a home game at Croke Park against Offaly?

It should result in a comfortable victory by double figures.

Cork -1
2pts 5-4 general
Dublin -8
2pts 5-6 general

Dublin tend to come into their own in the latter stages of the league but the gulf in class between them and Kildare was clear to see in the Leinster final as Jim Gavin's charges ran out comfortable 2-23 to 1-17 winners, and it was only a stoppage time goal from Kildare's Paddy Brophy that prevented a double-figure loss for the Lilywhites.

A lot of familiar faces will be missing from the Dublin starting line-up, but there are plenty of familiar faces to replace them.

Kildare suffered only two defeats on the way to promotion in 2017,  at the hands of Derry and Galway and both by a single point.

Cian O'Neill has made good progress since taking over at the helm and his aim will be to secure Kildare's top-flight status for 2018. Anything they get in a game like this is a bonus and it is a baptism of fire for the Lilywhites, who could be in for a long night at Croke Park.

Dublin saw off Cavan by seven points away from home in round one last year and, given Kildare's wretched recent record at Croke, expect to see the All-Ireland champions win easily and there could be goals on the menu.

Dublin to win and both teams to score a goal
1pt 7-4 Ladbrokes, Coral

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Cork have more firepower up front with Alan Cadogan, Seamus Harnedy and Shane Kingston expected to make the difference
E.W. Terms
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