The Irish Times 2019 All-Ireland Hurling Championship Vox Pop

Our writers give their predictions ahead of the start of this year’s hurling championship

How big a loss will Joe Canning prove to be to Galway’s Leinster ambitions. Photograph: Sportsfile

How big a loss will Joe Canning prove to be to Galway’s Leinster ambitions. Photograph: Sportsfile

 

Jackie Tyrrell

Who will come out on top in the Munster and Leinster round-robins?

Tipperary, Clare and Limerick in Munster. Galway, Kilkenny and Dublin in Leinster.

How vulnerable are Galway in the Leinster championship without Joe Canning?

He’s a huge loss for the team - as he would be for any team - but this could be used a motivational tool for the Galway team and panel.

Who will be the surprise package of this summer’s Championship?

Dublin. Impressive league form suggests they could well be a real be threat in Leinster. Mattie Kenny is a shrewd operator and has built on Pat Gilroy’s good work from last year. He got the best out of Cuala and they are tactically fluid. In Eoghan O’Donnell they have a defender who can mark any forward in the country.

Could Mattie Kenny’s Dublin team be the surprise package of the summer? Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Could Mattie Kenny’s Dublin team be the surprise package of the summer? Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Who do you expect to be lifting the Liam MacCarthy Cup at the end of it all?

Clare. They weren’t too far away last year and have both huge hunger and the players to go one step further. It’s now or never for this group and that can be a big motivator.

Malachy Clerkin

Who will come out on top in the Munster and Leinster round-robins?

Clare, Tipperary and Cork in Munster. Galway, Wexford and Dublin in Leinster.

How vulnerable are Galway in the Leinster championship without Joe Canning?

More vulnerable than you think. Leinster will be far trickier than last year - Galway’s last two games are away in Nowlan Park and Parnell Park. Kilkenny’s injury list could be the deciding factor.

Who will be the surprise package of this summer’s Championship?

Dublin should come through Leinster but their progress has been well flagged. Munster is such a bearpit that it’s feasible Limerick could get squeezed out. I know it’s not what the question was hinting at but it would surely count as a surprise.

Who do you expect to be lifting the Liam MacCarthy Cup at the end of it all?

‘Expect’ entirely overshoots the runway here. I will take a meek and wheedling guess at Cork. Their fatal flaw last year was coughing up big leads. The glass half-full view must be that at least they were getting in position. Seeing it out from there is surely a fixable next step.

Eamon Donoghue

Who will come out on top in the Munster and Leinster round-robins?

In Munster: Limerick to win it, with Clare and Waterford also emerging. Cork’s poor league form will be hard to shake off, while Tipperary have shown few signs of change under Liam Sheedy. In Leinster: Galway, Wexford and Kilkenny.

How vulnerable are Galway in the Leinster championship without Joe Canning?

With four capable teams in Leinster, Galway without their talisman are vulnerable. But they still have enough quality forwards to progress, and in the long run it could prove a blessing if others do step up.

Who will be the surprise package of this summer’s Championship?

Dublin are a very strong team who I expect to be competitive in all of their matches, however I do see them being edged out in Leinster. But, if they were to emerge, they would be a serious threat with growing belief, because they have as good a individuals as any team.

Who do you expect to be lifting the Liam MacCarthy Cup at the end of it all?

Limerick are the form team right now but better sides have failed to do two in a row. Clare are the team to watch out for, but a fully fit Galway are still the best in the land and the safest bet.

Ian O’Riordan

Who will come out on top in the Munster and Leinster round-robins?

Limerick poised to top Munster, followed by Cork and Tipperary, and Dublin won’t be far off in Leinster, followed by Wexford and Galway, only given the nature of the competition all that could easily be proved wrong.

How vulnerable are Galway in the Leinster championship without Joe Canning?

It certainly raises fresh question marks over the depth of their squad and over-reliance on Canning’s presence, and they may well struggle to make that top three in Leinster.

Who will be the surprise package of this summer’s Championship?

Dublin have the spirit and attitude to make their presence properly felt and could certainly be the surprise package in Leinster. Beyond that possibly less so.

Limerick backed up their All-Ireland win with the league title, can they keep it going? Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Limerick backed up their All-Ireland win with the league title, can they keep it going? Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Who do you expect to be lifting the Liam MacCarthy Cup at the end of it all?

There is something uniquely refreshing and also resilient about this Limerick hurling team, who will still need a few lucky rolls of the dice but look perfectly capable of winning it again.

Sean Moran

Who will come out on top in the Munster and Leinster round-robins?

At the moment, Limerick are the form team and Munster is the one title most of them haven’t won whereas in Leinster, injuries have weakened Kilkenny and Galway, maybe giving Wexford a shot at their first title in 15 years.

How vulnerable are Galway in the Leinster championship without Joe Canning?

Given his centrality to everything the county has achieved in the last 10 years, he’s a huge loss and the only hope is that it can inspire team-mates to step up in his absence.

Who will be the surprise package of this summer’s Championship?

None. Whatever about the odd unexpected result in the provinces, I don’t believe the champions will come from outside last year’s All-Ireland semi-finalists.

Who do you expect to be lifting the Liam MacCarthy Cup at the end of it all?

There are caveats about how long Limerick can keep this up but to date there has been little sign of post-All-Ireland flat-lining - or of obviously credible contenders to their title.

Nicky English

Who will come out on top in the Munster and Leinster round-robins?

In a way, it’s anyone’s guess but mine is Limerick for Munster because I think their early-season form will continue for a while. In Leinster I have a feeling for Kilkenny, as despite the injuries I think they’ll beat Dublin and Galway at home, which all but puts them in the final and I can’t see them being beaten there.

How vulnerable are Galway in the Leinster championship without Joe Canning?

Extremely. Last year Galway had the excuse that as defending champions they were battling to maintain form but as the championship progressed, there was a reversion to the old dependency on Joe, which continued in this year’s league.

Who will be the surprise package of this summer’s Championship?

On the basis of the league, it’s clear that Waterford and Dublin are improvers but I can’t see them making a major impact on the championship. For me, the other four counties in Munster will supply the All-Ireland champions so no, no surprises.

Who do you expect to be lifting the Liam MacCarthy Cup at the end of it all?

It’s a near-impossible question! I believe the winners will come from Munster. Limerick have the best squad in the championship but as champions, their energy levels may become an issue. Once Cork get to Croke Park, I can see them winning the All-Ireland.

Keith Duggan

Who will come out on top in the Munster and Leinster round-robins?

Both provincial championships have the potential to streak away into unpredictable country but Galway look the best bet to retain their title. Limerick’s form has been rampant and it will be interesting to see how they handle the pressure of playing as champions.

How vulnerable are Galway in the Leinster championship without Joe Canning?

Joe Canning has thrived under Michael Donoghue’s stewardship and his influence on this team as a playmaker and leader is immense. Naturally, his absence weakens the team. But they remain a formidably strong squad. They will be a different team without Canning but still an extremely strong and dangerous team.

Who will be the surprise package of this summer’s Championship?

Seems ridiculous to think of Kilkenny as a surprise package but expectations are muted this summer. If they can rectify their injury list and make it out of Leinster, they could defy general assessment and become a very tough unit to crack. But all eyes will be on Mattie Kenny’s Dublin, who have hinted at the potential to take down some of the big guns.

Who do you expect to be lifting the Liam MacCarthy Cup at the end of it all?

The round-robin format leaves all contenders vulnerable to an off-day. But last year’s finalists look poised for another long summer and if Joe Canning comes back into the reckoning for Galway, then they can atone for last year’s disappointment and win a second All-Ireland in three years.

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