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Six talking points from the opening weekend of Championship action

The weekend saw the hurling championships alongside the Ulster, Munster and Leinster football Championships  get underway as there were upset victories, sideline interventions alongside some excellent team performances. Here are some of the main talking points from the weekend’s action.

  • Kennedy’s intervention shows why the rules need changing

Kilkenny overcame a mounting injury list and a half time deficit to beat Dublin in the opening round of the Leinster hurling Championship. The main talking point came after 32 minutes when TJ Reid attempted to play a short free to Billy Ryan. The Cats trailed by five points and went in search of a goal before the break. Dublin selector Greg Kennedy caught the sliotar in front of Ryan much to the frustration of Kilkenny and Brian Cody.

The Cats managed to win the game but if they had not managed to do so then there would be a greater sense of frustration for the 36-time All-Ireland winners. The incident highlights the need for legislation to be brought in against selectors entering the field unless a player needs medical attention. If instances like this are to be cut out of the game then the GAA need to act.

  • Tipperary show their potential

Liam Sheedy’s return as Tipperary manager was a successful one as his charges ran our 2-28 to 1-24 victors against Cork. The result was all the more impressive as they travelled to Páirc Uí Chaoimh and faced the back to back Munster champions. With two wins in their previous nine games before Sunday’s encounter, Tipperary were very impressive as John O’Dwyer struck seven points from play while Seamus Callanan and Jason Forde also shone up front.

Brendan Maher’s return is another boost for a county who have flattered to deceive since winning the All-Ireland in 2016. They undoubtedly have the potential to be lifting the Liam MacCarthy this August. There is still a lot of hurling to be played this summer but their performance was a step in the right direction.

  • Carlow prove a point

Carlow travelled to Pearse Stadium to face back to back Leinster champions Galway in a game many predicted the Tribesmen would win comfortably. The Barrowsiders had other ideas as they fought bravely before succumbing to a six point defeat. They matched their hosts in the opening half and despite Galway opening a 1-14 to 0-8 lead after half time they continued to battle and reduced the gap to three points. Colm Bonnar’s men worked tirelessly throughout the game as Martin Kavanagh struck 11 points and proved to the hurling public that his team will be no pushovers as they seek to remain in the Leinster Championship.

They have made great strides as two years ago they were preparing for a Christy Ring Cup semi-final against Wicklow. Their performance was a warning sign to others not to underestimate the challenge Carlow will pose.

  • Limerick inject some early life into the football championship

The Limerick footballers produced an upset as they beat Tipperary by 3-11 to 1-10 in Semple Stadium on Saturday evening. The Provincial Championships draw plenty of criticism from the media but this win is a great boost for the county as they won their first Munster Championship game since beating Waterford in 2012.

Tipperary’s form has fallen off since reaching the All-Ireland semi finals in 2016 and relegation to Division 3 this spring highlights this but Limerick deserve great credit for their performance. There is a need for a revamp of the football Championship but the Treaty Men’s win provides a positive news story in a time when hurling receives much of the media’s praise.

  • Joe McDonagh Cup delivers

The Joe McDonagh Cup started last Saturday as Laois overcame Offaly in a thrilling midlands derby. The final scoreline of 4-22 to 3-21 shows the attacking quality on show from both sides. Laois even struck 17 wides as the opening round of fixtures highlighted how competitive this year’s competition will be.

Antrim avenged last year’s defeat to Kerry as they secured an impressive 3-19 to 0-14 win. The Saffrons were forced to play a Relegation/Promotion Play Off against Kildare to retain their place in the Joe McDonagh Cup. Their opening day win shows how competitive this competition is.

  • What a difference a year makes

On Saturday 12th May 2018, Kildare hammered Roscommon by 26 points, 4-26 to 1-9 in the opening round of the Christy Ring Cup. The Lilywhites ended up winning the competition as that opening round performance was a sample of what was to come. Fast forward to Sunday 12th May 2019 and the two teams faced off once more in the opening round of the same competition. Roscommon pulled off a shock 0-20 to 1-15 win at home against the reigning Christy Ring Cup champions. It was a very impressive victory for the Rossies as they claimed a valuable two points. Kildare’s tally of 1-15 was their lowest in the competition since losing the Christy Ring Cup quarter final to Carlow in 2017. They say a year is a long time in politics.

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