Sky Sports hurling analyst Jamesie O’Connor looks ahead to the All-Ireland semi-final meeting between Limerick and Kilkenny.

All-Ireland Hurling Championship semi-final weekend is almost upon us, and even if it has half the drama of 2018, we’re in for a treat. Galway, Clare, Cork and Limerick served up a truly magical weekend 12 months ago.

With both games going to extra time, there was an electricity about it. We can only pray for a repeat.

2018 threw up two epic semi-finals 2018 threw up two epic semi-finals 2018 threw up two epic semi-finals

Limerick are All-Ireland champions and they dismantled Tipperary in the Munster final. There’s maybe a sense out there that if they reach those levels again, there’s nobody good enough to stop them.

But Kilkenny aren’t just anybody – these are the aristocrats of hurling. The Cats have cast iron self belief.

No matter how good or bad they are on paper – they’re still Kilkenny. There’s a mystique that surrounds the black and amber jersey. Brian Cody is still going to be patrolling the sideline. That in a way brings its own fear for the opposition. These guys are not going to roll over.

I fancied Cork to beat the Cats in the quarter-final, but Cody’s side turned it into a dog fight. The big names stood up, and the leaders gave a big performance when it was needed.

Kilkenny have enough experience, nous and hurling ability to do a job on Saturday.

Limerick can’t rock up and expect Kilkenny to roll over. They will have to deliver a performance to win it. That’s what makes it a 50-50 contest. It’s by no means a foregone conclusion.