Having been promoted to Liam MacCarthy Tier after winning last year’s Joe McDonagh Cup, Carlow begin their campaign away to a Galway side who are targeting the Leinster three-in-a-row this year. They beat Wexford in the 2017 final and Kilkenny in a replay last year.
Galway and Carlow meet in the championship for the first time since Galway won an All -Ireland quarter-final clash by 4-19 to 3-9 in Dr. Cullen Park.
This is Galway’s 11th season in the Leinster championship. They won the title in 2012-17 18 and reached the final in 2010-13-15-16. Carlow and Galway drew (0-20 each) in Round 2 of this year’s 1B Allianz hurling League campaign in Netwatch Cullen Park. A late pointed free by Marty Kavanagh earned Carlow a draw after they trailed by four points at half-time. Carlow drew two and lost three of their five regulation games in 1B before surviving in the group with a play-off win over Offaly. Galway won three, drew one and lost one of their five games in the same group. They beat Wexford in the quarter-final before losing to Waterford in the semi-final.
Micheal Donoghue is in his fourth season as Galway manager; Colm Bonnar is in his third season as Carlow boss. Joe Canning, who is out injured, was Galway’s top scorer in the Allianz League, landing 0-55 (0-48 from frees and 0-2 65s’. Cathal Mannion was top scorer from play on 1-15. Marty Kavanagh was Carlow’s top scorer in the League on 0-49 (0-37 frees, 0-1 pen, o -1 ’65’)
Another pointless game for the outright betting with Galway 1/50 (William hill) and Carlow 25/1 with Paddypower.
The Handicap is Galway -14 which looks just about right, it would a brave punter to side with either team at that number. Carlow would probably need goals to stay close.
When I looked at this match I was thinking about 42 or 43 points would be the total, but it’s up at 49.5 with Paddypower, so under might be worth looking at in the betting.
It’s going to be one of the best days of the year in Galway, so expect plenty of long-range points from both teams.
Galway – Joe Canning won’t be starting so that’s a huge loss for the men in maroon, once we get teams we will have it up here.
Carlow – No significant news of any main players set to miss the match.
Useful quotes from players and managers
“They are a great group to work with and they are really committed to the cause. They want to be successful and they can be, In saying that, there is a huge sense of perspective of never looking too far ahead. The next game is the most important one.” stated Galway manager Michael Donoghue.
“Every day you go out, you want to have Joe playing but, unfortunately, he picked up a knock. Obviously, we would love to have him but we have to look for a positive and it is that this is a great opportunity for other lads to step up to the plate, We have serious forwards in the county that can perform on any given day. So, even though we are down Joe, I think it is an exciting time for those coming in.” said Galway captain David Burke
Carlow manager Colm Bonnar “They are working with four senior hurling teams in Carlow. That is an issue. But they are doing an awful lot of work underage and with the development squads. They are trying to get the number of players up,” “There is huge anticipation in Carlow about this championship. People have booked their weekend away to Galway and they are all looking forward to it. We’ll have a full house when Kilkenny come down to Cullen Park which hasn’t happened before. There is huge expectation. The players will be under pressure but I think we’ll take it in our stride and give a good account of ourselves. We’ll be true to ourselves, stay a united bunch and who knows?”
No move in this market which could indicate backing the handicap draw is going to be very close to being spot on.