1. Critical battle areas
The big question is how will Ballyhale hold Joe Canning and Damien Hayes? And likewise can Portumna keep the influence of Henry Shefflin in check?
James “Cha” Fitzpatrick is also due a massive game, so Portumna will have to be at their best to keep them out.
Henry Shefflin has scored 1-32 in the last four games, which is almost nine points a game, so Mike Ryan and Eugene McEntee will have to be on guard to stop any forays down the middle of their defence and make sure fouls are kept to a minimum.
2. Who will win the All-Ireland club hurling final next Wednesday?
Portumna. (And definitely if it is a fine day. )
3. Why do you think Portumna will win?
Portumna always produce the goods on the big day. They are like Kauto Star whereas the Ballyhale defenders are more like Denman. I think if the day is good, that the speed, skill and power of the Portumna forwards will win out. Kevin Hayes is a key player too and he does fantastic work for his side. Likewise Niall Hayes is a really valuable player for them and his return is a major plus for the team.
4. Anything else to add?
I am missing Cheltenham for the first time in 18 years to commentate on this game. There is no place else in the world I’d rather be than at this All-Ireland club final between two magnificent teams. It should be a super game and there are thousands of neutrals going just to see the players and teams on view. I can’t wait and I hope we have a classic (with a Galway win ).