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Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Wexford can cull the Cats and keep top spot in Division 1A

Best bets for Sunday's hurling action

Galway's Aidan Harte and Geroid McInerney battle with Wexford's Lee Chin
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Kilkenny v Wexford
2.30pm Sunday

Davy Fitzgerald’s Wexford outfit have been impressive throughout the league campaign, building on the great progress they made in 2017, and they are top of Division 1A entering the final round.

With the top team coming up against the fourth-placed side from 1B (likely to be struggling Dublin), Wexford will be keen to retain their position.

Kilkenny started slowly in the league, losing narrowly to Cork and Clare, but they’ve bounced back with wins over Waterford and Tipperary.

TJ Reid has been the catalyst, notching 13 points in a titanic battle with Tipperary, while Ger Aylward makes his first start in eight months for the Cats.

Both teams are in good form, and while Wexford have already secured their quarter-final spot they will be keen to get a win over their rivals.

Lee Chin and David Dunne have been the key players for Wexford in the league. They look capable of at least staying in touch with Kilkenny and may even get one over on their neighbours.

1pt 3-1 Paddy Power
Wexford +4
2pts Evs Paddy Power

Tipperary v Cork
2.30pm Sunday
Tipperary have won two out of four in the league, but they were arguably hindered by the Fitzgibbon Cup, with marquee forwards Jason Forde and John McGrath involved with the UL team who won the competition.

That left Tipperary without their two main forwards for the trip to Nowlan Park, so they will be relatively pleased to have suffered just a one-point loss to Kilkenny. This should be a much more straightforward task.

An opening-round win for Cork over Kilkenny created optimism in a young Cork panel, but they have struggled since, losing three in a row, and it looks all but certain that they will be involved in a relegation playoff rather than a quarter-final.

Tipperary also welcome back Cathal Barrett and Padraic Maher to a strong starting 15. Tipperary have averaged over 26 points in their last three games and on home soil they can rack up a large total in what should be a routine victory for Michael Ryan’s side.

Tipperary -4
2pts Evs Paddy Power
Over 26.5 Tipperary points
1pt 5-6 Paddy Power

Waterford v Clare
2.30pm Sunday
Clare slipped to their first defeat of the league at the hands of Wexford in round four, but Tony Kelly and Conor McGrath return to a side who were impressive in the early stages of the league.

Wins over Tipperary, Kilkenny and Cork have confirmed their quarter-final spot, but they will be keen to return to winning ways at Walsh Park on Sunday afternoon.

The story of Waterford’s league campaign could not be more different, as they got their first win over Cork in round four. While Derek McGrath has named strong teams throughout, the consensus has been that Waterford are building for the championship, as they bid to go one step further than in 2017.

The tight confines of Walsh Park has been a talking point and it’s clear they don’t perform to the best of their ability at home. Clare however, have been equally adept both home and away, and will have no complaints regarding the venue as their home ground of Cusack Park is also tight.

While it will most likely be a different in the championship, these sides are playing at different levels and Clare will be confident of taking something away from Walsh Park.

1pt 11-10 Betway

Galway v Limerick
2.30pm Sunday
As many expected it’s a winner-takes-all last-round meeting between Galway and Limerick at Pearse Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

While Galway survived a few scares along the way, the All-Ireland champions are beginning to find their stride as a number of their marquee players return to the fold in preparation for the knockout stages.

Limerick have been impressive throughout the league campaign, dismissing teams with ease even while many of their key young guns were involved in the Fitzgibbon Cup and with their Na Piarsaigh contingent unavailable due to the club campaign.

While their Na Piarsaigh players won’t return for this outing, Limerick have been travelling well and promotion to Division 1A will have been on John Kiely’s mind all winter. Expect this to be top-class contest with Limerick capablre of edging it.

Limerick +1
2pts 7-5 Paddy Power

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It’s a winner-takes-all last-round meeting between Galway and Limerick at Pearse Stadium
E.W. Terms
Sky bet