Tipperary’s Brendan Maher comes under pressure from Dublin’s  Ryan O’Dwyer. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

It is into the stadium of ghosts as the All-Ireland hurling season moves on to Thurles town, giddy with its own unpredictability and brilliance. At le(...)

 Paul Ryan (right, in action against Kilkenny) returns to the Dublin line-up and Tipperary will be wary of his ability if they infringe close to goal. Photograph: Inpho

It’s difficult to oppose Tipperary. In the familiar surroundings of their Thurles citadel, bolstered by the momentum of largely freewheeling, high -s(...)

Dublin’s Danny Sutcliffe tries to tackle Kilkenny’s Cillian Buckley in the Leinster hurling final. Photograph: Inpho

He did not intentionally reference Sinatra but Danny Sutcliffe, the Dublin hurler, knows the next challenge could define the Anthony Daly era or exte(...)

John Power of Kilkenny is challenged by Peter Kelly of Dublin during the Leinster hurling final at Croke Park. Photograph: Inpho

After a Leinster championship of snap and crackle, a final curiously bereft of pop. Kilkenny’s slicing and dicing of a fidgety Dublin side was old-sch(...)

Dublin coach Anthony Daly during the Leinster hurling final againt Kilkenny at Croke Park on Sunday. Photograph: Inpho

The great imponderable is you just don’t know. Some days the flame burns magnificently, on others dampness blankets everything. “This is the nearest (...)

Kilkenny’s Colin Fennelly gets his shot away as Dublin’s  Stephen Hiney moves in during the Leinster SHC Final at Croke Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Kilkenny 0-24 Dublin 1-9Reconstructed, slightly remodelled but the interior of these Kilkenny hurlers looks much the same. Defeat to Dublin, and Cork,(...)

Dublin celebrate in front of their fans on Hill 16 following their victory over Kilkenny in the Allianz National Hurling League final in 2011. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Here is how it was. By the spring of 2011, Dublin had played 22 games under Anthony Daly in league and championship. Their record going into the leagu(...)

Wexford’s Jack Guiney: “We have to up our game and go in with a new level of intensity against Clare. Hopefully we can pull one out of the bag.” Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

The essential difference between champions and also-ran is the former can identify their deficiencies and fix them in full stride. Jack Guiney knows t(...)

Dublin manager Anthony Daly celebrates the breakthrough  Leinster final win over Galway last summer. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

When Anthony Daly talks about a player being “mad for road” that normally means they’re going in the right direction. For Danny Sutcliffe that road i(...)

Clare’s Tony Kelly: Cork will surely deputise a man-marker to track the outstanding 2013 Hurler of the Year. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

There wasn’t a whole lot between these teams last year but Clare proved themselves better in the end although in the All-Ireland finals I’d a sneaky f(...)