Ballyea (@1.36) vs Crusheen (@3.5)

Our Prediction:

Ballyea will win

Ballyea – Crusheen Match Prediction | 16-09-2019 09:00

Cuala for their part, were giving Kilmacud Crokes the hiding of all hidings in the Dublin final, leading by 1-5 to no score after 22 minutes, having put six other efforts wide. They would concede eight unanswered points in the opening seventeen minutes of the second half and, incredibly, would have to come from behind to win in the end.

Its virtually impossible to call which side will get the upper hand in this regard, and more than likely, it will be this which will be the key element. Saying that, except for those final ten semi-final minutes, Ballyea have more finesse than any side Cuala have faced with regards the capacity to keep the ball away from Mark Schutte at number six and/or their spare defender when they have one.

We are happy with the way we are going but we also know we have improving to do. We have trained well and we are going to give it one hell of a rattle. You dont win county championships without being more than just a dogged team and while people say we are a tricky team for Ballyea, we think we are a bit more than that said Carrig. We have been called dark horses but over the years they have not got enough credit for being really good hurlers. We are a confident bunch and I dont think people have given us enough credit for what we have done.

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Ballyea are champions for a reason and while they may not be firing on all cylinders, they have still been grinding out results. They have an obvious ace in Tony Kelly, and while a hesistant nod goes to the champions, it is only a hesitant one. All their attacking contingent have been getting on the board but this represents a major step up in the level of opponent they face. Crusheen have been building steadily and look to have a good mix throughout the field.

Slaughtneil, on the other hand, lumped puck outs down Cualas throat from start to finish in the All-Ireland semi, and were, predictably, crucified. Cuala ate them for breakfast until Crokes got into the dressing room and changed tac for the second half. In the first half against Crokes, time and time again, Crokes lumped puck outs down on a numerically superior Cuala half back line.

However, regarding OCallaghan, with 1-9 scored/fouled for scored frees in the Leinster final and 1-6 in the semi against Slaughtneil, not to mention 4-3 scored in the opening round of Leinster, he has been undoubtedly the marquee forward and all round player of the provincial/ All-Ireland championship so far and the one player most likely to swing things in his teams favour.

Their form will be something of a concern though as they have struggled to hit the heights of recent years. It is has been a difficult campaign on the football front too and that is bound to have had some effect as Clondegad face into a relegation battle. They bounced back from that with a good win over Wolfe Tones last time and regardless of the route, the champions are now back into the hunt. A battling extra time opening round win over Clooney-Quin came before a disappointing loss to Sixmilebridge. Ballyea have been inconsistent by their own standards this year.

Autumn open meeting date

Dont be surprised if you see a lot of possession play and weaving of hand-passes in the middle third. The side who do this best/coughs up the fewest turnovers doing this will probably win. To that end, how this element on puck-outs plays itself out will most likely be one of three key defining elements, probably the most significant.

We are expecting this weekend to be a massive step up in terms of intensity and all that goes with the last stages of championships. It has really been a mixed bag but there are still signs of form there he said. It is like looking into the muddy water for us in terms of reviewing how our year has gone so far. We reacted well to eventually turn around the game against Clooney-Quin but just never got out of the traps the next day against Sixmilebridge and it was disappointing how flat we were but reacted well the last day.