While I played hurling in my underage days, I wont pretend to know a huge amount about the game. What I do appreciate though is the sheer pace and intensity of the games at this particular level. I enjoy watching the games from the semi-final stage on because this is when we witness the elite at the peek of their powers.
In recent years we have witnessed the re-emergence of Galway, Limerick, Clare, Wexford and probably to a lesser extent Cork. This has added value to the championship because along with Kilkenny and Tipperary, all the above mentioned could be considered as serious contenders from the outset.
As witnessed many times in the past, Kilkenny and Tipperary take their place in this years decider. This has come as a surprise to some but in reality, can you ever really rule out the pure quality of riches that both teams have at their disposal. On top of that, Kilkenny have the greatest manager in GAA history in the ruthless Brian Cody while Liam Sheedy has been there and done it against his old foes on the Tipperary sideline.
There are many top performers on both teams but critical to their teams success will depend on how well TJ Reid, Colin Fennelly and Padraig Walsh play for Kilkenny while the same can be said of Seamus Callanan, Noel McGrath and Padraic Maher on the Tipperary side.
Once again, this has the makings of being and epic and classic encounter, but who would you put your money on? I’m swaying slightly in favour of Tipperary right now but Fennelly & Co could put that to the sword with an early goal. It’s all to play for. May the best team win.
Who do you think will win this years All-Ireland Hurling Final?