JJ DELANEY PREDICTS another meeting of Limerick and Galway in this year’s All-Ireland final, but says Clare’s year can only be regarded as a success by reaching the decider.

The nine-time All-Ireland champion is looking forward to seeing Tony Kelly playing at centre-forward for the Banner when they open their Munster Championship campaign away to Waterford on 12 May.

Incidentally, the Kilkenny man says Waterford can have no excuses either considering they’ve been given the opportunity to host matches at Walsh Park this year as opposed to having to travel to Limerick.

“Clare need to get to an All-Ireland final this year,” Delaney told The42.

“Last year was a success for them in that they got back to Croke Park and brought Galway to a replay, but they have to get to a final this year. They’re like Limerick and Waterford of previous years, getting to semi-finals and then making the breakthrough.

Clare forward Tony Kelly.

Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

“I don’t think a Munster Championship would be good enough, I don’t think it’d be enough for their fanbase because 2013 is a long time ago.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what Waterford bring to the table. I didn’t see much of them during the league — in the league final they were disappointing — but they look to be going a bit more orthodox and with younger legs up front.

“Pádraic Fanning trained me with the Fitzgibbon team in WIT. He’s a great guy, a passionate guy and he’ll definitely get it right come championship.

“They’re a different X-factor coming into the Munster Championship this year and their excuse of having no home games is gone, they’ll have to perform in Walsh Park.”

On his own county, Delaney is hopeful of a first Leinster title in three years – a tilt which they’ll begin at home to Dublin on 11 May, in what will be the first of 20 live championship matches Sky Sports will screen this year.

“The Dublin game is a huge game for both teams because they should have beaten Kilkenny last year in Parnell Park. That set up Kilkenny to get to a Leinster final and All-Ireland quarter-final.

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“If Dublin do win that, Kilkenny are on the back foot straight away and they’ll have to go down to Wexford Park and get a result — a place where we haven’t got a good record the last couple of years.

“It’ll be interesting to see what Dublin bring to the table as well. Mattie Kenny likes to bring a possession game, a running game and you see what they did in the league semi-final, they played a sweeper.

Kilkenny and Dublin met at Parnell Park in last year’s Leinster Championship.

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“Tactically, they can play both games — 15 v 15 or with a sweeper — so it’s going to be interesting to see what tactic Mattie Kenny actually employs against Kilkenny.

“But I think it’s vital for Kilkenny to get off to a good start, especially in Nowlan Park. We saw in last year’s championship that you have to win your home games. If you don’t, you’re on the back foot straight away.”

JJ Delaney was speaking as Sky Sports announced its GAA fixtures for the 2019 Championship. A total of 20 live, and 14 exclusive, fixtures of Championship action will be available on Sky’s multi-platform offering throughout the season.

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Gavan Casey and Murray Kinsella are joined by Andy Dunne to get stuck into last weekend’s Champions Cup semi-finals.:

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