Hurling predictions: Ollie Canning and JJ Delaney pick the winners of the weekend’s matches

Ahead of the weekend’s hurling action, Sky Sports pundits Ollie Canning and JJ Delaney gazed into the crystal ball and gave their predictions on Inside The Game.

Tipperary vs Cork, All-Ireland SHC qualifier

The age-old rivals meet in the Gaelic Grounds, for their first knockout showdown since the 2014 All-Ireland semi-final. The Rebels put their Munster Championship defeat to Waterford behind them with a convincing win over Dublin. Meanwhile the Premier are looking to rebuild their season, as they eye a first All-Ireland title defence since 1965.

The game is live and exclusive on Sky Sports Mix.

Canning: “For me, I think Tipperary will have too much up front. I know, as Jamesie O’Connor wrote this week, definitely the Cork pace in the forwards will put the Tipperary defence under pressure.

“But I just think the likes of Seamus Callanan and John McGrath, there is more in these players. Liam Sheedy will demand a response after the loss to Limerick, and I think he will get it. I’m going with Tipperary by three or four points.”

Delaney: “I’d agree with Ollie, but there are [question marks]. Paudie Maher was injured the last day. When he wasn’t hurling well – it shows how good and consistent he has been over the last 10 years – it’s a huge negative for that Tipperary team.

“If he is right after his injury, and they get the attack up and running again, Tipperary will win by a couple of points.”

  • Callanan: Tipp have to come out fighting

  • O’Connor: Cork pace can trouble Tipp

Clare vs Wexford, All-Ireland SHC qualifier

Much of the focus will be on the side-line rather than on the pitch itself, as Davy Fitzgerald and Brian Lohan come head to head. The former Banner team-mates don’t see eye to eye, and it’s sure to raise the heat in what promises to be an enthralling contest.

Wexford are coming into the game off the back of a heavy Leinster semi-final defeat to Galway, while Clare had to dig deep to see off a spirited Laois side last week.

Canning: “I think it’s going to be a happy Davy Fitz. I just felt going into the Galway game, we all felt that Davy Fitzgerald has a good relationship with the Wexford players. They have a game-plan, it didn’t really function against Galway. And I think Davy will have these Wexford players motivated for this weekend.

“I’m going for Wexford in a tight contest. Laois gave Clare a real game the last day. And I just think Wexford will have too much for them next weekend.”

Delaney: “I think I will go Davy on this one. Clare are over-reliant on Tony Kelly at the moment. He dragged them over the line last weekend.

“Wexford just need a response. Davy will come up with a plan to curtail Tony Kelly. He got the freedom of Semple Stadium against Limerick. He won’t get that this weekend. If they can do that, Wexford will win this game.”

  • ‘Embarrassed’ Chin: We let Davy down

Kilkenny vs Galway, Leinster SHC final

The Tribesmen come in as favourites after their dominant semi-final victory over the Model County. The Cats are chasing a first provincial win since 2016.

Canning: “I just feel Galway are going really well. I’m going for a Galway win here; very, very close. I just think they might do it on the weekend.”

Delaney: “At the start of the year, I said Galway would win the Leinster final. I think the motivation from last year’s championship, not getting into the All-Ireland series, is a huge bonus for Shane O’Neill. He has a huge carrot to be dangling in front of these players. I think Galway will be too strong on Saturday night, and will win by two or three points.”

Limerick vs Waterford, Munster SHC final

Limerick are hot favourites to retain their crown, after brushing Clare and Tipp aside. The Déise will be buoyed by their first championship win since 2017 after beating Cork in the last four.

Canning: “I think [beating Cork] will definitely give Waterford confidence. It was a really good win for them when nobody gave a chance going into that game. But have they got enough to overcome Limerick? I don’t think so. I think it will be competitive for long periods the next day. But they have to keep it tight at the back. With that sweeper system, they will make it competitive.

“But Limerick will have too much in the tank for them. They have shown that in the two games so far against Clare and Tipperary. I can see Limerick winning this game with six or seven points to spare.”

Delaney: “I’d echo what Ollie was saying. Limerick are just too physically strong. When you are sitting down trying to curtail this Limerick attack, you start with Aaron Gillane. But who is your second or third option? There are six scorers there, and then Cian Lynch and Darragh O’Donovan.

“I can see Limerick winning this game by five or six points. But I’m expecting Waterford to give them a good rattle.”

Watch a live double-header on Sky Sports Mix on Saturday from 12.15pm, as Donegal face Armagh in the Ulster Football Championship, before the All-Ireland Hurling Championship qualifier between Cork and Tipperary.

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