Waterford standing in the way of another Clare versus Cork clash
Nicky English says Tipperary’s meeting with provincial champions Limerick is the ‘stand out game’
Clare players celebrate at the final whistle of the All-Ireland replay against Cork. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
The glue came unstuck last Saturday when Clare finally separated themselves from a clinging Cork team in the replayed All-Ireland hurling final, but the rivalry is potentially to be resumed at an early stage of next year’s championship.
In last night’s draw at Croke Park, Clare were placed to meet the winners of Cork and Waterford in the Munster semi-final.On the other side, there will be another episode of the Limerick-Tipperary rivalry.
Limerick used home advantage to great effect in out-gunning Tipperary in this season’s campaign, but Nicky English, an All-Ireland winner with Tipperary as a player and manager, believes this draw will act as “a good carrot for Tipperary’s hurlers over the winter”.
English added: “It’s hard to believe that it all ended only last Saturday, but I think all of the teams will fancy that they can improve on this year.
“Waterford will be looking to have a go at Cork in the first round and, in Leinster, you’ve Offaly having another chance at Kilkenny and Wexford getting to come back again at Dublin.”
Clare’s advancement straight into the semi-final in Munster – giving them a longer period to prepare for the championship after the league finishes – will likely stand to Fitzgerald’s men, according to English.
“It’s better to avoid the first round in Munster,” remarked English of a game that can be a potential banana skin.
“It’s very early (in the summer) to be playing in the first round. I know Clare did it this year, but going back a second time is not as easy. At least they’ve avoided that.”
English believes Tipp’s meeting with provincial champions Limerick is the “stand out game” and, having had to go into the lion’s den this year, the shoe will be on the other foot next year.
“It’s a definite advantage to Tipperary (to have a home game). It was set up for Limerick this year playing in the Gaelic Grounds and this would be seen as a good draw for Tipperary.”
Dublin’s status as provincial champions this year saw them fast-tracked to the Leinster semi-finals for the 2014 campaign, where they will likely come face-to-face with Wexford.
Anthony Daly’s team needed a replay to overcome Wexford in the early stages of this year’s championship.
Wexford will first have to overcome the winners who emerge from the round-robin group that features Antrim, Carlow, Laois, London and Westmeath.
Galway will have a quarter-final encounter with the runners-up of the group, while Kilkenny – who relinquished their All-Ireland title this year – will start the new provincial campaign with a meeting with Offaly, who are currently searching for a new manager.
Antrim, Carlow, Laois, London and Westmeath will play in a round-robin play-off. Winners and runners-up go to quarter-finals.
Leinster SHC quarter-finals: Winner of round-robin v Wexford; Round-robin runner-up v Galway; Kilkenny v Offaly.
Leinster SHC semi-finals: Dublin v Wexford or round-robin winner; Kilkenny/Offaly v Galway/round-robin runner-up.
Quarter-finals: Waterford v Cork. Semi-finals: Tipperary v Limerick; Clare v Waterford or Cork.