We have team news, preview, betting advice and live score updates from Kilkenny v Offaly Saturday evening in Nowlan Park throw in at 7pm in what will be Sky Sports first live GAA game.
Kilkenny will be firm favourites and will be expected to win comfortably against Offaly team who performed very poorly in Division 1B. If offaly can display the heart and grit which they showed in last year’s encounter it could make for an entertaining encounter.
Kilkenny enjoyed a successful campaign in Division 1A winning 3 games and losing 2 but going on to reach the final where they defeated Tipperary in the league final.
In contrast Offaly had a very campaign in Division 1B only winning one game but they did manage to draw to Limerick. The sides meet in last year’s Leinster Championship. Kilkenny were victorious winning on a score line of 0-26 to 4-09.
Duel Of the game
Shane Dooley v JJ Delaney
The battle between Shane Dooley and JJ Delaney will be crucial. Dooley is Offaly’s most potent threat from play and placed balls and if he can get the better of JJ Delaney it may keep Offaly in the game.
JJ Delaney is now the most experienced player on the Kilkenny team which includes a number of newcomers. If Offaly can possess the same goal threat as last year they may remain competitive and this duel will be critical to this outcome.
Kilkenny have named 3 debutants in their line up. Padraig Walsh brother of Tommy is making his position in the wing back role his brother occupied for years. Brian Kennedy comes in at corner back and Mark Kelly makes his debut at full forward.
Offaly have named 4 players who will make their championship bow. Niall Wynne, Barry Harding Peter Geraghty and Kevin Connolly all come into the side.
Kilkenny team: Eoin Murphy; Paul Murphy, JJ Delaney, Brian Kennedy; Padraig Walsh, Jackie Tyrrell, Cillian Buckley; Lester Ryan, Richie Hogan; Walter Walsh, Michael Fennelly, TJ Reid; Colin Fennelly, Mark Kelly, Eoin Larkin.
Offaly team: James Dempsey; Niall Wynne, Rory Hanniffy, James Rigney; Barry Harding, Derek Morkan, Cathal Parlon; Conor Mahon, Sean Ryan; Joe Bergin, Dan Currams, Peter Geraghty; Kevin Connolly, Shane Dooley, Brian Carroll.
Kilkenny have a new look team that includes some younger players that performed well in their league. They should have too much firepower for Offaly who may revert to a defensive game to stifle the Kilkenny attack.
Offaly’s league form is not promising but they still possess good talent in their attack with Brian Carroll, Shane Dooley and Joe Bergin.