Much has been made of how many Kilkenny players have hung up their helmets, but of those, only JJ Delaney began the All-Ireland hurling final replay. The departures would have raised questions about strength in depth though. On top of that, none of the starting six forwards from that game began against Cork, yet they still did enough to secure victory on Saturday. Aside from Richie Hogan’s haul of 11 points, the four and three from Mark Kelly and Walter Walsh respectively will have caught the eye as they bid to stake claims for places.
Waterford will feel they could have won it after leading by four points six times. But Limerick should have held on after opening up a two-point advantage late on. With both sides missing key personnel, perhaps a draw was the expected result but Limerick manager TJ Ryan will have targeted a victory from his team’s first home League outing of the season. For experimental Waterford, this could turn out to be the better point, considering that Paudie Prendergast struck the equaliser in the second minute of stoppage time.
Liam Rushe is a man who has been cursed by his multiple talents. Still just 25, he has already been utilised in defence, midfield and attack by Dublin and yesterday he found himself patrolling Tipperary’s square as full-forward.
Rushe enjoyed a decent battle with Paul Curran and came away with 1-1 from play for his efforts but the nagging feeling persists that he could be of far greater to Dublin somewhere around the middle third. If only there were two of him. Or more.
Eamon O’Shea emphasised how much Tipp wanted a performance at Parnell Park, stressing his side had invested a big effort in training.
Tipp looked like a side in hard training alright, but only in the way heavy legs never threatened to match Dublin vibrancy.
The comprehensive defeat makes it four opening day league reverses in five seasons. O’Shea didn’t seek excuses afterwards though he pointed out his players are hurling just one day a week at present. Tipp need to be slick to function, it seems, but an ability to tough it out when the touch is off might come in handy on bigger days too.
Clare supporters, after the high of 2013, were left waiting for the season to ignite last summer but the spark never came. They have been drawn away in their opening two league games and after being pipped at the post yesterday, now really need to get a result in Cork next Saturday night or will be in serious relegation trouble. Not quite make it break stuff but it won’t do them any harm.