‘I was at the Walsh Cup game between Kilkenny and Wexford last Saturday – the crowd was going spare. The blood was up in everyone. Games just take on a life of their own.’ Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

With all the changes teams will be in a quandary about how to approach the league

Galway manager Micheál Donoghue shows the Liam MacCarthy Cup to the welcoming home crowd in Ballinasloe on Monday. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Galway players have to embrace these next few months but not let it make them soft

Irish Times hurling columnist gives his lowdown on Déise team ahead of Sunday's final

Galway players stand for the national anthem before the semi-final against Tipperary. Can they end the long wait since 1988?  Photograph: Tommy Grealy/Inpho

Secure at full back and with a better balance in attack, Tribesmen get the nod over Déise

A dejected Jackie Tyrrell after the 2010 All-Ireland defeat to Tipperary. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

I still carry the crushing 2010 final defeat to Tipperary with me and I always will

Waterford’s Kevin Moran,  Mikey Kearney and Stephen Bennett celebrate after the semi-final victory over Cork. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Waterford and Galway players have to get into a routine that shrinks their world

Cork’s  Stephen McDonnell and Damien Cahalane in action against Waterford’s  Shane Bennett. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Ippho

Leaders like Anthony Nash, Mark Ellis and Conor Lehane can carry them through

Head-to-head duel: Galway’s Daithí Burke v Tipp’s Séamus Callanan. Photograph:   Inpho/Lorraine O’Sullivan

This will be a rare match in modern hurling where the match-ups are the key to winning

Waterford full back Barry Coughlan in against Wexford last weekend. Photograph: Inpho/Morgan Treacy

No position has changed more with the evolution of the game than the number 3

Tipperary’s Padraic Maher and Dan McCormack put the shackles on Dublin’s  Donal Burke. An outclassed Dublin still managed to score 1-19 on the day. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

All-Ireland champions must tighten up at the back if they are to retain their crown

Cork’s Alan Cadogan scores the opening goal against Clare in the Munster final. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Banner like a team obsessed with what Cork could do to them rather than vice versa

Kilkenny’s Pádraig Walsh under pressure from David Dempsey of Limerick in their All-Ireland senior hurling championship match at Nowlan Park. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Semple Stadium clash will show which team is on the right track for the All-Ireland series

 Kilkenny’s Colin Fennelly with  Shaun Murphy of Wexford. Murphy provides the cover as his fellow defenders augment the team’s attack. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Shaun Murphy’s covering role gives Wexford defenders the licence to lead the attack

A section of the  packed house at Nowlan Park watch Henry Shefflin in action: “It was two teams facing off in a battle in a desert heat, testing themselves to the last drop.” Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Next week’s draw revives memories of an unforgettable occasion in Nowlan Park

Waterford have a real chance this weekend to lay down some markers. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Derek McGrath has put all the eggs in the championship basket, now it’s time to deliver

'Championship is a different animal. That league quarter-final wasn’t the Kilkenny we’ll see this weekend. Brian Cody will be determined to have Kilkenny fully prepared this time.' Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Wexford are improving but we still don't know if they have the belief required

Clare defender Brendan Bugler at the launch of the Littlewoods Ireland sponsorship of the All-Ireland Championship. Clare have excellent defenders and don’t need a sweeper system. Photograph: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Deploying a sweeper system fundamentally changes the mindset of defenders

 JJ Delaney and Jackie Tyrrell celebrate victory over Tipperary  in the All-Ireland final replay of 2014. “I relished the idea of doing all this so that when the summer came around, I was going into the championship with a hard, strong body.” Photograph: Alan Betson

Seattle Seahawks’ Eddie Lacy gets $55,000 every time he hits a certain weight target

Diarmuid O'Sullivan and Donal Og Cusack in 2006. Photograph: Inpho

Senior players need to offer better example against Tipperary than last year’s disaster

Galway’s Niall Burke and Conor Whelan pressurise  Cathal Barrett of Tipperary during the league final at the Gaelic Grounds. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

No better team than Galway to punish you if mental preparation not as it should be

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