It’s The All-Ireland SHC Title For Cork Or It’s Nothing
I think Limerick are deservedly favourites for this year’s All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship.
Last Year’s Champs
They’re a very good side and their age profile would suggest that they have as a good a chance as anybody at winning back-to-back championships. They came through adversity in a lot of games last year and given how young they are, the experience of winning games is going to count for an awful lot.
The likes of Aaron Gillane and all of their main men really stood up when Limerick needed it. Their bench was huge also. They have a panel of about 23 that can interchange seamlessly.
Although, it is very hard to go back-to-back as we have seen recently. Everyone expected Galway to do the business last year or the good Tipperary team. It’s even tougher now with the new structure in the championship.
There are so many tough games in Munster. Somebody said to me the other day: “It’s as hard to pick the winner of the Munster Championship as it is the All-Ireland Championship.” I fully agree with that. I wouldn’t be shocked if any three sides made it out of Munster.
Cork For Liam
The one side I do really like is Cork. Last week I re-watched last year’s semi-final last week and for large durations of that game they were the better side and I think they’re overpriced in this year’s outright betting.
They’ve got key men who play in the right style that suits the team especially the likes of Patrick Horgan, Conor Lehane and Seamus Harnedy. These are three proper attackers that can get key scores and can rack up big individual tallies. Also, they’ve got Tim O’Mahony who has done very well since switching to centre-back.
I’d be advising people to back Cork to do the hatrick in Munster and to win the All-Ireland. I think they’re excellent value. Yes, you can argue that they failed to take their chance last year when they should have won that semi-final and there was no excuse for not seeing it out.
But the flip side of that is that they have plenty of motivation going into this year’s championship. The Munster Championship is no good to Cork this year.
It’s the All-Ireland or it’s nothing.
In many ways it’s similar to Mayo in the football. There’s been a lot of heartache for Cork in recent years and surely they looked back on last year’s semi-final and thought, “We didn’t have the bottle to get over the line.” So, to me, that is motivation for this year.
I think from 1-15 they’ve got the best calibre of players. They have the best set of forwards. Patrick Horgan had another good league campaign. He’s a plaudit free-taker and they do have options. They have a strong panel. Last year’s heartache will count for so much.
I don’t think Cork should be double the price that Limerick are. It’s not a fair reflection of the two side’s abilities. Cork are the side to be on.
Galway didn’t play well at all in last year’s All-Ireland final. People seem to forget that the final score was 3-16 to 2-18; just a point in it, so when you factor that in and think if Galway had played well, who knows what might have happened. It will be tough for them with Canning out for the first few games this year.
I think there’s going to be a real bounce-back with Dublin. If they beat Kilkenny in the opening game, that will open a big can of worms in Leinster because there’s going to be four sides competing for three places. The Leinster Championship is going to be very interesting.
Cork will definitely get to the semi-finals and Tipperary will too I think. Liam Sheedy is back in the fold and he knows what it takes to win an All-Ireland. They’re coming in under the radar and have the potential to have a big year.
It will be hard to keep Galway out of the frame too.
So, Cork, Tipperary, Galway and Waterford are my bankers to definitely get to the All-Ireland semi-finals.
I think we may see the return of the Waterford side from 2017. Most of all, I’m backing Cork to lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup!