Ciaran Carey: “I’d fancy Limerick to be that bit strong for Dublin”

There has been a lot of inconsistencies in the League thus far. You had Cork beating a Limerick team who had three wins from three.

Cork would fall to Tipperary the following week before, low and behold, Dublin would overcome the Premier County in the quarter-finals of the League, something I genuinely didn’t see happening.

To be fair to Dublin, they matched Tipperary in every area of the field. They’re sprinkling in a number of new players, they’re very astute on the line and they are going to be a handful on Sunday.

Allianz Hurling League Division 1B Gaelic Grounds, Limerick 17/2/2018 Limerick v Dublin Limerick’s Declan Hannon and Fiontan McGibb of Dublin Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan

Recently, the majority of the top teams in 1B have performed exceptionally well in the league and consequently in the championship which you saw with Galway in 2017 and Limerick last year.

You’ve four teams left but to be fair to Limerick they have been the most consistent this Spring.

I can see them going to Nowlan Park and doing a professional job in securing a first league final place since 2006.

It would be mouth watering if Galway were to overcome Waterford to set up a rematch from last years All-Ireland final but I think Waterford will have a thing or two to say about that.

Allianz Hurling League Division 1B, Walsh Park, Co. Waterford 10/3/2019 Waterford vs Galway Waterford’s Jamie Barron and Galway’s Gearoid McInerney Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ken Sutton

As the League draws to a close, you can be assured that each team will be doing their best to go all the way as it is the closest you will get to Championship intensity in your preparations.

When you get to this stage of the league, you are not a million miles away from championship hurling weather conditions aside and I’m expecting two quality games this weekend.

The benefit of a good league campaign is obvious to all. It allows you to experiment and give chances to new players who either sink or swim with nowhere to hide on the field.

Munster Senior Hurling League Round 1, Gaelic Grounds, Limerick 14/12/2018 Limerick vs Tipperary Tipperary’s Patrick Maher with William O’Meara of Limerick Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry

You always want to be better than last year and the only way you can do that is playing competitive games. At the business end of the league, you’re not going to get better than that.

Overall I’d still fancy Limerick to be that bit too strong for Dublin on Sunday given their consistency over the past 12 months.

As for the other clash, despite Waterford’s impressive depth of talent, I’d be leaning towards Galway slightly.

I think they will be desperate for another crack at Limerick after last years All-Ireland final so if I had to call it I’d say Limerick and Galway in the League final.

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