Limerick’s Peter Casey and William O’Donoghue celebrate after their All-Ireland SHC final win at Croke Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Limerick had to show resilience to survive Galway's late show but they've been doing that all year

Limerick’s Sean Finn in action against Galway’s David Burke during the league clash at Salthill.  Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

At their best Galway will beat anyone but sustaining performance has been the issue

Galway’s Daithi Burke celebrates after the defeat of Clare at Semple Stadium, Thurles. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

The fates and the woodwork of Semple Stadium conspired to end Clare's season

Clare’s Peter Duggan is tackled by Galway’s Paul Kileen during the drawn semi-final at Croke Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Tribesmen will need to improve their intensity and not be over-reliant on Glynn

John Kiely’s team proved amazingly resilient again when the match was in the balance

Limerick’s Dan Morrissey celebrates at the final whistle with Sean Finn (No 2) after the thrilling quarter-final victory over Kilkenny at Thurles. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

It’s hard to look beyond formidable Galway in the first semi-final at headquarters

Limerick’s Tom Morrissey and Kilkenny’s Martin Keoghan battle for possession during the All-Ireland quarter-final at Semple Stadium. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Manner of the impressive victory will work wonders for Kiely’s up-and-coming side

Cian Lynch has impressed in the middle of the park for Limerick. Photograph:  Morgan Treacy/Inpho

John Kiely’s side will be fresher but psychologically battle will also be key

Conor Whelan celebrates after Jonathan Glynn  scored Galway’s opening goal in the Leinster final replay at  Semple Stadium, Thurles. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Manner of the victory over Kilkenny clearly reasserted Tribesmen’s credentials

Galway’s Jonathan Glynn battles in the air against Kilkenny’s Cillian Buckley  during the Leinster final at Croke Park. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

All-Ireland race looks more open than ever as Cork edge Clare again in Munster final

Joe Canning: has been in impressive form again this year in a potent Galway attack and will most likely cause problems for Kilkenny on Sunday. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Champions can plant another flag while Clare’s transformation can see them claim Munster

Clare’s John Conlon and  Shane O’Donnell in action against Richie English of Limerick during the Munster championship clash at Cusack Park. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Sluggish Limerick’s momentum stalled as third game in a row perhaps took its toll

Clare goalkeeper Donal Tuohy and Tipp’s Jake Morris  watch on  as the  substitute’s shot hits  the post in a pivotal moment during yesterday’s game. Photograph: James Crombie

Errors and poor clearances from Tipperary lead to Clare goals and Tipp's exit

Galway’s Cathal Mannion. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Limerick perhaps best-placed to upset the champions’ title defence this year

Galway’s Joe Canning in action against Tommy Ryan of Waterford. Canning was flawless on the frees during his side’s win on Sunday in Croke Park. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

On an emotional day Micheál Donoghue’s team remained composed

Joe Canning: Tipperary paid the price for letting him drift; Waterford won’t take that chance. Photograph: Getty Images

Deise could exploit nervousness but MacCarthy Cup looks on way to Galway

Irish Times hurling analyst gives his lowdown on the Tribesmen ahead of Sunday’s final

Jamie Barron: the mobile Waterford midfielder  has played a key role with crucial goals in the defeats of both Kilkenny and Tipperary. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Traditional 15-a-side formation gives way as coaches try various set-ups with ‘extra’ man

Cork’s Patrick Horgan and Shane Fives of Waterford contest a high ball at Croke Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Waterford won all the key contests with Brick Walsh and Kevin Moran leading by example

Tadhg de Búrca: his absence is a major blow for Waterford as no-one else on the team is as comfortable in performing the role he has perfected. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Wide expanses of Croke Park will suit confident Rebels’ fast-moving game plan

Galway’s Joe Canning looks on after scoring the winning point against Tipperary at Croke Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Tipperary produced their best display in 2017 but it just wasn’t enough on the day

Gearóid McInerney attempts to bottle up  Patrick Maher in last year’s semi-final. Photograph: Inpho/Tommy Dickson

Champions picking up momentum but the favourites have been a model of composure

Waterford’s Michael Walsh and Shane Bennett in action with David Redmond and Shaun Murphy of Wexford at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Both Waterford and Tipperary looked unconvincing in their quarter-final victories

The new Páirc Uí Chaoimh is ready to host two intriguing All-Ireland quarter-finals this weekend. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Clare will struggle to win enough primary possession to dethrone the champions

Cork manager Kieran Kingston celebrates with selector Diarmaid O’Sullivan near the end of the Senior Hurling Championship Final. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Younger players’ enthusiasm serves as inspiration for more experienced team-mates

Cork’s Seamus Harnedy during the Munster SHC semi-final against Tipperary. Photo: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Rebels have struggled defensively in recent years and will get first real test against Clare

Galway’s Joe Canning during the Leinster GAA senior hurling championship final, in Croke Park, Dublin. Photograph: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Tribesmen’s performance against Wexford proves it will take a lot to beat them this year

Conor Whelan: has been in impressive form for a potent Galway attack. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Micheál Donoghue’s team have the forwards to prevail in a high-scoring clash

Cork’s Stephen McDonnell vies with Waterford’s Shane Bennett at  Semple Stadium yesterday. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Nicky English: The sense of expectation surrounding Wateford was left disappointed

Waterford’s Shane Bennett with Mark Ellis and Colm Spillane of Cork. Waterford will need more from the two Bennetts and Patrick Curran to reach another level this year. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Questions surrounding Conor Lehane’s fitness can tilt the balance towards Déise

Wexford’s Lee Chin celebrates with fans after their victory over Kilkenny in the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship quarter-final at Wexford Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Fans at Wexford were put through the wringer as Kilkenny mounted a late charge

Richie Hogan: classy  forward will pose a huge threat to Wexford’s ambitions in the Leinster SHC semi-final at Innovate Wexford Park. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Wexford are well capable of winning in their home venue but wily Cats still get the nod

Limerick’s Richie English in action against Clare’s two-goal hero Shane O’Donnell at  Semple Stadium. Photograph: Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Forwards proved decisive against Limerick but winning primary possession an issue

 Conor McGrath could help tip the balance in Clare’s favour. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

If Clare are to be contenders they will certainly have to see off a weakened opposition

Galway’s Johnny Coen gets the measure of Tipp’s  Seámus Kennedy in the league final. Photograph: Inpho/Morgan Treacy

Kilkenny-Tipperary duopoly can be broken this year

Question and answer: Ronan Maher of Tipperary and Liam Blanchfield of Kilkenny at yesterday’s GAA All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final at Croke Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Huge All-Ireland final win justifies Tipp’s status as the best team in championship

Richie Hogan: one of the best players in the country and certain to be a key man for Kilkenny in the All-Ireland hurling final. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Tipperary's hot can see them beat Kilkenny but their cold won't be good enough

Tipperary’s John O’Dwyer celebrates his crucial goal against Galway with John McGrath at Croke Park. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Despite Waterford’s heroics, the best two teams will meet in next month’s final

Kilkenny’s Walter Walsh is tackled by Waterford’s Tadhg De Burca during last Sunday’s semi-final clash at Croke Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Cats’ goalscoring threat gives them edge while improving Tipp can end Galway hopes

Waterford manager Derek McGrath  said in a pre-match interview that his team had decided to go for it, and they came out with all guns blazing:  Photograph: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Plucky performances in the hurling match of the season

Austin Gleeson: one of the players Waterfor rely on to post scores from 70 or 80 yards  out the field.  Photograph:  Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

But regardless of what system Déise opt for, form suggests the champions will prevail

Clare’s Tony Kelly and Colm Galvin with David Burke of Galway. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

One of key differences for Galway on Sunday is that they possessed a real goal threat

 Wexford full-forward Conor McDonald was back to top form in his side’s victory over Cork two weeks ago. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Hurling championship quarter-finals look set to go down to wire as losers face trapdoor

Tipperary’s Seamus Callanan. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Munster final is almost too close to call and could be game of season so far

John McGrath celebrates scoring a goal for Tipperary from a penalty against Waterford at Gaelic Grounds on Sunday. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.

Waterford laid bare by use of flawed sweeper system at Gaelic Grounds

Kilkenny’s Walter Walsh tries to get away from Galway’s Cathal Mannion and Johnny Coen. Photograph: Ryan Byrne

Galway knew what Cats would do in second half but were still powerless to prevent it

Clare’s Shane O’Donnell tries to block down Waterford’s Austin Gleeson at Semple Stadium.  Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

League loss forgotten as Derek McGrath’s men are full value for their win over Clare

Clare’s Tony Kelly tries to elude Waterford’s Jamie Barron in the league final replay in Thurles. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

Derek McGrath’s ability to adapt will be crucial to county’s ambitions this summer

Tipperary’s Seamus Callanan and Damian Cahalane of Cork in the Munster quarter-final at Semple Stadium, Thurles. Photograph: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Tipperary were the only team on show at the weekend with All-Ireland ambition

Cork manager Kieran Kingston has downplayed his side’s chances against Tipperary in the Munster championship. Photo: Inpho

The two sides meet earlier than usual this year but that could prove perfect for Cork

Waterford’s Austin Gleeson crashes into team-mate Michael Walsh after catching a high ball over Clare’s David Fitzgerald and Brendan Bugler. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

National League final was played with kind of intensity expected from championship

Clare are very dependant on Conor McGrath who got very little support against Waterford last week in Thurles. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Ironically, losers at weekend could be better placed for the teams’ championship clash

Maurice Shanahan scores the equalising point with the last puck of the game. Photograph: INPHO/Donall Farmer

Shocking number of wides not likely to be repeated during next Sunday’s replay

Kilkenny manager Brian Cody: his record speaks for itself: 11 All-Irelands. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Cody gets 110 per cent out of players and has done it consistently . . . he is the Boss!

Galway’s Cathal Mannion celebrates after the final whistle. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

There’s a confidence emanating from the Flynns and the Mannions and it’s spreading

 Séamus Callanan: the Tippearary full forward did a lot of damage against Galway when the sides met  in last year’s championship. Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill /

But Galway are a much improved team this year and will take a lot of beating

TJ Reid scores his side’s goal despite the presence of a thrown hurley at Croke Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

No matter how many All-Ireland medals they have won these players still want more

Maurice Shanahan has been key for Waterford, holding up possession superbly as the lone attacker. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Waterford need to hurl with abandon and be a bit smarter in their use the ball

Dublin’s Liam Rushe. Dublin will target Waterford in the physical stakes. Rushe, Chris Crummy, Conal Keaney, Danny Sutcliffe and Mark Schutte are all big, powerful men. Photograph: INPHO/James Crombie

New Cork system suits them and they have a greater scoring threat than Galway

Waterford’s Stephen Bennett is tackled by Tipperary’s Cathal Barrett during the Munster hurling final at Semple Stadium. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Tipp will be relieved to have won the title but Waterford must adapt their game plan

Colin Dunford stays one step ahead of James Woodlock during  Waterford’s league semi-final win over Tipperary at Nowland Park. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Experience and forward power will prove crucial in Munster hurling final

Kilkenny’s TJ Reid scores a goal in the Leinster  Hurling Senior Championship final against Galway at Croke Park. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

‘When Galway put on what pressure they could, Kilkenny raised their game impressively’

Kilkenny’s Joey Holden in action against Wexford’s Conor McDonald. The full back will face a stiffer test against Galway’s Joe Canning at Croke Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Brian Cody’s champions to survive the test posed by rejuvenated Galway

Kilkenny’s Ger Aylward scores his third and his side’s fifth goal at yesterday’s Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Semi-Final, at Nowlan Park, Kilkenny. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

The manner of their wins should leave rest of the hurling fraternity worried

Tipperary will hope Padraic Maher gets on the front foot against Limerick. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Kilkenny face challenge this season but they have habit of finding right formula

Cork woes: Their subs made very little impact and  it’s hard to see how they can recover this summer. Photograph: Inpho/Cathal Noonan

Derek McGrath’s team going to take plenty of beating in 2015

Séamus Harnedy is an injury concern for Cork’s showdown with Waterford.

Injuries undermining both teams tomorrow but Cork have too big a gap to bridge in five weeks

Jason Flynn and Joe Canning of Galway chase a loose ball ahead of Dublin’s Cian O’Callaghan, goalkeeper Alan Nolan and Peter Kelly during the Leinster hurling quarter-final at Croke Park. Photograph: Cathal Noonan.

Lacklustre displays at Croke Park just leaves plenty of room for improvement

 Mark Schutte  has been a revelation so far, Dublin’s key man, consistently outstanding from the off. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Danny Sutcliffe could give Dubs the edge in a pivotal early-season clash

 Tony Kelly is still Clare’s Mr Reliable what is now a mis-firing forward line. Photograph: James Crombie

It’s the Munster championship in May and losing might not be such a disaster

Lar Corbett: his movement will prove a real threat to Kilkenny’s defence again. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

O’Shea’s men to confirm the impression of the first day – that their top gear is ultimately higher than Kilkenny’s

 Kilkenny’s Paul Murphy and Brian Hogan get to grips with Patrick Maher of Tipperary during the All-Ireland hurling final. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Draw was a fair result after majestic display by both sides

Kilkenny’s Padraig Walsh is chased down by Tipp’s Kieran Bergin

On a day when even small influences can prove vital Eamon O’Shea’s team can find key footholds in an impossibly even match

 Tipperary’s Lar Corbett (left) reaches for the ball as  Lorcán McLoughlin of Cork tries to challenge. Photograph:  Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Supremacy over an out-of-touch Cork runs throughout entire All-Ireland SHC semi-final contest

“Midfield is  another area of big improvement for Cork this year,” says Nicky English. “They were comprehensively outplayed by Clare at midfield in last year’s All-Ireland final so they went away and produced Aidan Walsh (right)”. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Expect the scores to flow in an open encounter but powerful engine room can tip the balance for Rebels

Kilkenny’s Paul Murphy battles for possession with Limerick’s  Graeme Mulcahy at Croke Park yesterday. Photograph: Inpho

Nicky English: Limerick conceded goals at the worst time and couldn’t goal themselves

The likes of Kevin Downes will have to step up and take on Kilkenny’s defence at Croke Park.  Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Munster finalists will have to fire on all cylinders to get the better of Brian Cody’s men who are so comfortable in Croke Park

Dublin’s John McCaffrey has nowhere to go as Pádraic Maher, Gearoid Ryan, Kieran Bergin and Brendan Maher close in during yesterday’s All-Ireland quarter-final at  Semple Stadium, Thurles. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

It couldn’t be set up better for Tipperary but strictly on form they still have a lot to do

Wexford’s Keith Rossiter fends off Clare’s Darach Honan. Nicky English believes the absence of Rossiter or Liam Óg McGovern would represent a serious blow for Wexford’s ambitions against Limerick. Photograph: Inpho

Liam Dunne’s side have the momentum to get past Limerick while Tipperary should prove too strong for struggling Dublin

Cork’s Alan Cadogan and Tom Condon of Limerick clash in yesterday’s Munster Hurling Final at  Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

It’s starting to look like this year’s All-Ireland will be decided amongst the big three

Limerick’s Richie McCarthy battles with Cork’s Patrick Horgan during last year’s Munster final at the Gaelic Grounds. Photo: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Champions will pose a serious threat but challengers to make most of home advantage

Tipperary were slow to get balls in to  Séamus Callanan but when they did, he scored twice. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho.

Kilkenny will face tougher battles this summer than against lacklustre Dublin

TJ Reid celebrates scoring the first goal of the game for Kilkenny against Galway. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

TJ Reid in clinical form as Cats book a Leinster final showdown with Dublin

Kilkenny’s Jackie Tyrrell and Andrew Smith of Galway square up last week at O’Connor Park. Smith and Iarla Tannian will have to ensure they focus primarily on their hurling in the replay if Galway are to prosper. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Brian Cody’s side somehow left it behind them last week but they still look too strong for Galway

Galway’s Niall Burke scores his side’s opening goal despite the efforts of Kilkenny’s JJ Delaney and goalkeeper Eoin Murphy. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Danger for Brian Cody’s side is they have created a monster by not finishing off the Tribesmen first time around

Kilkenny’s Richie Hogan: key performer up front. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Brian Cody’s team seem to have bounced back from a poor 2013 championship and are entitled to favouritism

Aidan Walsh of Cork, seen here battling with Clare’s Pat Donnellan and John Conlon,  epitomised Cork’s superior resolve and desire in the  Munster SHC semi-final at Semple Stadium. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Dublin were also very impressive in defeating Wexford without key man Danny Sutcliffe

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

The arrival of Aidan Walsh, Mark Ellis, Bill Cooper and Alan Cadogan has strengthened Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s hand

A photo-montage of Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash scoring from a penalty during an Allianz League match against Tipperary earlier this season. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho.

‘I think there’s a real need to look at this from the perspective of safety’

Tipperary’s Brendan Maher exchanges greetings with Kilkenny’s  TJ Reid after the National League final in Thurles. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Tipp goalkeeper Darren Gleeson’s late mistake proves crucial in a game of tight margins

The league has worked out well for Tipperary to date – despite the high-scoring loss to Kilkenny – and they don’t have a whole lot to lose in Sunday’s final. Photograph: Inpho

While Cats have held upper hand of late, Tipp are on a roll that may get them over line

Clare’s Conor McGrath scores his side’s fourth goal at a critical juncture  in Saturday’s outstanding All-Ireland hurling final replay at Croke Park. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Young Banner men proved their quality when brave Cork asked the big questions

Clare’s Darach Honan will be looking to make more of an impression against Shane O’Neill in today’s All-Ireland final replay. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Having seen their opponents miraculously survive the drawn match, Clare will wonder what exactly they have to do to win

Cork’s Patrick Cronin is challenged by   Brendan Bulger of Clare. Photograph:   Ryan Byrne/Inpho

After a poor first half, the final lived up to what has been an epic championship

Clare’s Darach Honan holds off Stephen McDonnell of Cork during the Munster SHC semi-final, a game where the Clare forward threatened to rule the roost. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Rebels can just about edge clash of the two best teams of 2013

Clare team silenced the huge Limerick crowd early

Davy Fitzgerald’s team made hurling look an easy game

 Limerick’s Tom Condon and Richie McCarthy tackle Cork’s Luke O’Farrell during the Munster final at the Gaelic Grounds.  Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

John Allen’s men look strong enough to master the challenge from a resurgent young Clare team

Dublin and Cork teams shake hands before the game. Photograph: Inpho.

As good and as exciting a game I’ve ever seen in this the best hurling championship of my lifetime

Cork have proved very reliant on Pat Horgan in their championship outings to date. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Great championship approaches endgame with little between first two semi-finalists

Kilkenny’s Henry Shefflin recieves a second yellow card and then a red from referee Barry Kelly at Thurles

Cork and Clare the deserving winners of their respective quarter-finals in Thurles

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