What is it?
Hurling is considered the world’s oldest and fastest field game with counties competing in the All-Irleand championship to lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup as the best hurling team in the land.
The first literary reference to the game dates back to 1272 BC, with the All-Ireland championship in existence since 1887. Today the competition only includes 13 counties. The remaining counties contest the Joe McDonagh Cup, the Christy Ring Cup, the Nicky Rackard Cup, and the Lory Meagher Cup with promotion and relegation between the tiers.
The 2022 All-Ireland championship begins with 11 teams, five in Munster and six in Leinster (including Galway from Connacht) - with two more joining for the preliminary quarter-finals from the Joe McDonagh Cup.
When is it?
The championship got underway this weekend with Leinster kicking things off on Saturday before the Leinster round-robin gets underway today.
There’ll be matches in the provincial round-robins every weekend until May 22nd. After a week’s breather, the provincial finals take place at the start of June. The All-Ireland series runs for the following two weekends.
Then there’s a break week between the All-Ireland quarter-finals and semi-finals, and again before the final on July 17th also. So there’ll be hurling action for 11 of the next 14 weeks!
This weekend’s fixtures:
Leinster - Wexford 1-19 Galway 1-19; Westmeath 1-19 Kilkenny 5-23; Dublin 1-20 Laois 2-15.
Munster - Waterford v Tipperary, Walsh Park, 2pm (RTE2); Cork v Limerick, Pairc Ui Chaoimh, 4pm (RTE2).
How does it work?
For the first time since 2019 - the last two championships were altered due to the Covid-19 pandemic - the provincial championships will follow a round-robin format:
Munster - Round robin of five teams - top two qualify for the final with the winners going straight into the All-Ireland semi-finals and the runners-up contesting a quarter-final.
Third place head into the preliminary All-Ireland quarter-finals. The bottom team contest a relegation playoff (if Kerry win the Joe McDonagh Cup they face this team in a relegation/promotion play-off for the 2023 Munster Championship).
Leinster - The only difference here is there are six teams involved, and the bottom team is relegated without a playoff if a team outside of Munster win the Joe McDonagh Cup (with that team promoted in their place).
All-Ireland series - The finalists of the Joe McDonagh Cup meet the third placed teams from Munster and Leinster in the preliminary quarter-finals. The winners meet the beaten provincial finalists in the All-Ireland quarter-finals, with the Munster and Leinster champions awaiting the winners in the semi-finals.
Limerick won it last year right . . .
They did. Limerick have won three of the last four All-Irelands and are going for their first ever three in a row. They’ve also won the last three Munster finals, (three since 2018) and two of the last three league titles.
Kilkenny have won the last two Leinster titles, against Dublin and Galway the year before, with Wexford beating them in the 2019 decider.
And how did the league end up?
Division 1 semi-finals
Cork 1-27 Kilkenny 2-20
Wexford 0-16 Waterford 5-20
Division 1 Final
Waterford 4-20 Cork 1-23
Westmeath, who will compete in the Leinster championship this year after winning the 2021 Joe McDonagh Cup, finished second in Division 2A. They won their semi-final against Kerry and were 5-19 to 1-17 winners over Down in the league final in Thurles.
Round one - April 17th
Cork v Limerick
Waterford v Tipperary
Round two - April 23rd/24th
Limerick v Waterford
Tipperary v Clare
Cork v Clare - May 1st Limerick v Tipperary - May 8th
Round four - May 15th
Clare v Limerick
Waterford v Cork
Round five - May 22nd
Tipperary v Cork
Clare v Waterford
First round - April 16th
Dublin 1-20 Laois 2-15
Wexford 1-19 Galway 1-19
Westmeath 1-19 Kilkenny 5-23
Second round - April 23rd
Kilkenny v Laois
Wexford v Dublin
Galway v Westmeath
Third round - May 1st
Laois v Wexford
Galway v Kilkenny
Westmeath v Dublin
Fourth round - May 14th
Dublin v Kilkenny
Laois v Galway
Westmeath v Wexford
Fifth round - May 21st
Kilkenny v Wexford
Galway v Dublin
Laois v Westmeath
All-Ireland preliminary quarter-finals - June 11/12th
A Third place in Munster v Winner of Joe McDonagh Cup final
B Third place in Leinster v Runner-up of Joe McDonagh Cup final
All-Ireland quarter-finals - June 18th
Winners of All-Ireland preliminary quarter-final A v Leinster runner up
Winners of All-Ireland preliminary quarter-final B v Munster runner up
All-Ireland semi-finals - July 2nd/3rd Croke Park
The Leinster and Munster champions meet the two quarter-final winners.
All-Ireland final - July 17th, Croke Park
How can I watch it?
This weekend RTE 2 will have live coverage of both Munster hurling round one fixtures, with GAAGo streaming the games for those outside of Ireland. Sky Sports showed the Leinster first round meeting of Wexford and Galway on Saturday, as one of seven already announced hurling matches they’ll be broadcasting in the 2022 championship:
Leinster SHC: Wexford vs Dublin
Leinster SHC: Dublin vs Kilkenny
Leinster SHC: Kilkenny vs Wexford or Galway vs Dublin
Both All Ireland SHC semi-finals
All Ireland SHC final
A chance to make history?
Limerick captain Declan Hannon has the chance to surpass even Christy Ring and make history by being the first man to lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup on four occasions after an All-Ireland final win. Who if any, can stop Limerick?