Cody’s Cats 7-1 outsiders to lift Liam McCarthy this year after thrilling draw at Wexford
By COLIN BARTLEY
DESPITE Kilkenny’s thrilling draw with Wexford on Saturday, Galway being dumped out of the championship by Dublin was the most significant development this season so far.
Brain Cody, calmness personified, knew the draw was good enough to see Kilkenny into another Leinster decider as he walked onto the Innovate Wexford Park turf to congratulate Wexford boss Davy Fitzgearld.
Davy’s reaction, though, was the most telling. He was smiling shaking hands rather than hissing, a nonchalant, matter-of-fact shrug of the shoulders when embracing Cody. Job done. Wexford and Kilkenny were through and bonus territory achieved. The Tribesmen no longer a factor. Satisfaction for both managers.
You could also sense some relief on Sunday as the Munster teams lined out for elimination. In the back of all the focused minds, the coaches, the players, the fans was that knowledge that one of the biggest threats to lift Liam McCarthy was gone.
Westmeath and Laois have out-run Galway in the race for Liam McCarthy Cup this year. Dublin deserve mighty credit.
They are not getting it though, the bookies have them as rank outsiders of six teams. They are not even giving odds on Laois or Westmeath (aside from Boylesports at 5000/1 on both!).
Not only are Dublin being written off at 25/1 outsiders, the three remaining Leinster teams are also regarded as being well off the pace, with Tipperary, Limerick and Cork leading the All-Ireland betting stakes.
Kilkenny, under the care of hurling’s most decorated manager, are in a worse place according to the bookies, than the inconsistent and sometime rudderless Cork.
Although odds on at 2/5 to beat Wexford in the Leinster decider, you can find 7/1 on Kilkenny to win the All-Ireland. Cork are priced at 5/1.
Wexford, who have drawn with Dublin, Galway and Kilkenny, and like Tipperary are unbeaten in the championship this year are a staggering 18/1 to capture their first All-Ireland since 1996.
Despite Tipperary’s facile victory over Limerick yesterday, meaning Tipp and Limerick face off again in the Munster decider, the markets can’t separate them – for either the Munster title, 10/11 the pair of them, or for Liam McCarthy, 2/1 joint favourites.
We may not see another moment of magnitude this season like in Parnell Park last Saturday, the celebrations well deserved, but we do know there is a lot of hurling left to go.
It will take one team at least 210 minutes of hurling to take the crown this year, longer if they take a more scenic route.
A game can change on the puck of a ball and there’s lots of pucking to be done in 210 minutes.