We have live score commentary from Dublin v Kilkenny in the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Semi-Final, 5pm Saturday 23rd June, Portlaoise, 5pm
Kilkenny will start the defence of the Leinster and All-Ireland titles against Dublin this Saturday in Portlaoise, with the Dubs looking to build on the progress made over the last couple of years.
For so long the Boys in Blue had no chance in the hurling championship, they are now able to compete and indeed beat the best the country has to offer, as indicated by their 2011 League final defeat of today’s opponents.
These two sides last met in March where they served up a cracking spectacle, shared 11 goals, with the Cats ultimately prevailing despite being six points down in the last six minutes to claim victory in the league.
For the Dubs, the “Cruciate Trio” of Stephen Hiney, Conal Keaney and Tomas Brady are back to fitness while Alan McCrabbe, Ryan O’ Dwyer and Ross O’Carroll are all deemed fit to start.
Kilkenny won the Allianz League without really breaking sweat even without the likes of Richie Power and Henry Shefflin, both of whom will be back on Saturday. For Shefflin, this will be his first game back since last year’s All-Ireland final and will be looking to hit the ground running.
Dublin are continually improving and their 22-point trouncing of Laois was a good marker but in the end Kilkenny should prove too good if playing anything close to their best.
Verdict – Kilkenny
Value Bet: Kilkenny (-7) to win @ 6/5
Kilkenny – David Herity; Paul Murphy, JJ Delaney, Jackie Tyrrell; Tommy Walsh, Brian Hogan, Richie Doyle; Cillian Buckley, Paddy Hogan; Henry Shefflin, TJ Reid, Eoin Larkin; Colin Fennelly, Richie Power, Richie Hogan.
Dublin – Gary Maguire; Niall Corcoran, Peter Kelly, Tomas Brady; Stephen Hiney, Joseph Boland, Michael Carton; John McCaffrey, Shane Durkin; Conal Keaney, Danny Sutcliffe, Liam Rushe; Paul Ryan, Ryan O’Dwyer, Conor McCormack.