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Winners & Losers: Tipperary, Greg Kennedy and Leinster contenders

All the winners and losers from this weekend’s provincial action, as Clare and Tipperary kick start their Munster campaigns with wins.

Winners

Tipperary

They answered their critics with aplomb, showing signs that the Tipperary of old aren’t gone yet. It was a far cry from the late days under Michael Ryan and the league form they showed earlier this year, which had tempered expectations somewhat coming into this game in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. The trick now will be trying to temper expectations ahead of their next test against Waterford, in which a win could send some people into hysterics of a long Tipperary summer. There’s loads of hurling yet, and Tipperary need to show this wasn’t a once-off to appease their fans and their manager and starting stringing big performances together. But they’re off to a great start.

John O’Dwyer

What a return to form for a former All Star, who had sort of drifted away in the past couple of seasons with inconsistent and frustrating play. It’s only frustrating because we know how good he can be, and Sunday afternoon was just an example of him at his imperious best.

Clare

Walsh Park was hyped up as a fortress, but Clare ensured that status would have to wait as they etched out the Déise by a single point. It’s a huge marker, and you could see the relief on Donal Moloney’s face at full time as Clare got over the line after a late surge from Waterford. This was noted as a difficult away tester and with that out of the way, and two points in the bag, Clare have clear road ahead for another big Munster championship.

Carlow

They may have lost on the scoresheet, but keeping within six points of Galway in Leinster action is nothing to be ashamed about. They showed that they belong at this level, and long may it continue.

Limerick

Their first Munster championship win since 2012 and a rare Division 4 victory in provincial action. Billy Lee has this Limerick side believing they can punch well above their weight, and catching Tipperary off guard like this would have reverberated around the county.

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Kilkenny

Dublin had been signaled as a dark horse in Leinster, but Kilkenny had other ideas. Without a contingent of regular starters, it looked like the pre-season hype was justified as Dublin stormed into a four point lead at the interval, but Kilkenny raged back in classic Cody fashion, outscoring the Dubs 2-11 to 8-points in the second half to come back and win. Cody will be delighted that his stretched panel showed all the hallmarks of a classic Kilkenny team, digging deep to pick up the two points and get their Leinster campaign off to the perfect start.

The Joe McDonagh

If you rely on RTÉ and The Sunday Game to feed your GAA fix, you must wonder what the feck is the Joe McDonagh Cup? The provincials’ forgotten little cousin, Laois and Offaly played out a 50 score tie, with Eddie Brennan’s O’Moore County overcoming their neighbours Offaly 4-22 to 3-21. A fantastic match-up for a competition that so far been given zero love and attention from the higher-ups.

Tyrone

Down with seven minutes left, Tyrone hit 1-5 to overcome a plucky and improving Derry side in the Ulster championship. Derry frustrated and contained the Red Hand men superbly early on, and Tyrone must have been concerned about getting caught out, but stayed clinical late on to seal the win and progress. Derry will be disappointed with the loss, no doubt, but have taken huge strides in 2019 after promotion to Division 3 earlier in the league.

Losers

Cork

Was this the performance of a team who had won the Munster title in each of the last two years? It was strangely lethargic and void of fight and work rate, as Cork let Tipperary nail 2-24 from play in relatively routine fashion. The team had to be altered slightly right before throw-in, but that doesn’t go near to explaining such a meek performance. There’s a lot of fixing to do – a week’s turnaround before a visit to Limerick may not be long enough for John Meyler’s men.

Dublin

A decent performance, but once again the result escapes them against Kilkenny. Next week’s tie against Wexford is now a massive fixture for the Dubs – win or go home, and Davy Fitzgerald sides are very good at tasting blood.

Greg Kennedy

What on earth was he doing?! The calls to have him banned from the sideline are a bit over the top, but there has to be some sort of retribution for Dublin or a rule enforced going forward that prevents Maor Foirnes from getting involved with the action as much as they do. How often do you see selectors and team helpers cris-crossing the field? He clearly intended to “mark” Billy Ryan – why else would he go in that direction – and had no business getting involved with the ball. He’s very lucky there weren’t more Kilkenny players in his vicinity or a melee could have ensued.

Waterford

A one-point loss to Clare is by far no reason to hit the reset button, but it’s a disappointing first home loss in Walsh Park. The home venue had been bigged up as an impenetrable fortress – and it was looking absolutely amazing on Sunday afternoon, with the atmosphere bustling and louder than it could ever be in a larger venue – but leaving with a loss is damaging to their Munster chances, and takes any concern off of Limerick’s visit later this month. They

Leinster Contenders

They might have picked up the wins, but it was very squeaky for both Kildare and Meath. The Lilywhites were pushed all the way by Wickow, emerging as two point winners. Meath needed a late surge to overcome Offaly, who had been leading for a large portion of the match. A win is a win, and no doubt each of them would have had their gaze further down the line, but struggling against Division 3 and 4 calibre teams doesn’t bode well going forward. We thought this was the year the Dubs could be toppled in Leinster…

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  1. Pingback: The So-Called Weaker County Radar #1 - GAA Wrap

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