BIG MATCH PREVIEW: Championship permutations and why Cody’s Cats must win battle of Innovate Park
By COLIN BARTLEY
GONE be with the days of the auld knock-out championship!
After eight games of hurling in the Leinster Senior Championship this year, nothing is clear going into this evening’s final two matches, and Kilkenny have everything still to play for.
With the four teams playing in the final round of the Leinster championship, and all in with a shot of reaching the Bob O’Keeffe decider, the permutations are just dizzying.
And with both matches being played at the same time – 7pm throw-in this evening – the excitement, and confusion is building.
For the Cats, it’s clear: beat Wexford and we’re in the Leinster Final. Draw and we’re still in the final. But lose at Innovate Wexford Park and it squeaky bum time.
Because there is a doomsday scenario for the Cats. Galway, who beat Kilkenny by the narrowest of margins last week in Nowlan Park, are in pole-position in the table and a win or a draw for the tribesmen against Dublin would see them through to the Croke Park decider.
A draw for Dublin and they could finish third on scoring difference, only if Kilkenny beat Wexford however.
A Galway win would mean Kilkenny can finish no worse than third.
In the scenario of a Galway win, any positive result for Kilkenny against Wexford would see them battle Galway for the Leinster Championship and Wexford would finish third.
Lose to Wexford and Kilkenny will finish third in the table and go on to meet one of the Joe McDonagh finalist, for a place in the All-Ireland quarter-final.
Still with me?
But if the tribesmen lose to Dublin in Parnell Park this evening, everything changes. Galway would then be sweating on the result in Innovate Wexford Park. A draw between Wexford and Kilkenny, would spell the end of Galway’s season.
The draw would result in all teams finishing on 5 point in the table, but with Galway having a worse scoring difference to Dublin, the men from the west would lose out.
Dublin would qualify for the final, and meet Kilkenny, who have a better score difference than Wexford. The Model county would then meet the Joe McDonagh qualifier.
A Dublin win and a win for Kilkenny would see Wexford exit the championship and Galway finish third.
Here is that doomsday scenario, the one permutation that would see the Cats knocked out of the championship altogether – if they lose to Wexford and Dublin beat Galway. Wexford and Dublin would meet in the decider and Galway would take the third spot.
So, as you can see, it’s all rather simple!
Let’s just go for a Kilkenny win ….