Tension doesn't equal quality – John Martin
LAST weekend saw the two most eagerly-awaited fixtures in the MacCarthy Cup in recent years – with the exception of perhaps the 2010 final. The reason was that Kilkenny had been beaten in a previous round and the ‘hurling public’ were keen to see how the great ones would emerge from their defeat to Galway.
The other game, Waterford v Cork, was a genuine 50-50 clash, an occurrence that is all too rare in the senior hurling championship.
And by and large, the 37,000 who went along to Thurles were fairly satisfied with their day’s entertainment. The general consensus afterwards was that a levelling out of hurling’s playing field will transform the championship within the next two to three years.
You know the argument – Kilkenny aren’t the side they used to be, Tipp won’t produce the form of 2010 again, while Galway, Waterford, Cork, Limerick and Clare are all on the way up.
It would be a great scenario for the neutral, but it’s just a wee bit too simplistic – not to mention hopeful. The year when we can look at the list of pundits’ tips for the MacCarthy Cup and see six or seven teams spread amongst the various experts’ choice is still a few years away.
There’s no doubt that the teams named above are all improving and have the age profile to learn from this year and improve, but Galway aside, they are still a number of years – and more importantly, a number of players – away from being real All-Ireland contenders.
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published on Thursday August 2. Buy your copy now in your local newsagent, or you can purchase the online version – for only 90p – by clicking here