Who will win the Liam McCarthy cup in 2011????
Another year, another chance….
This is probably the most open championship in many years. After Tipperary halted Kilkenny's march to a 5th All Ireland in a row, there isn’t one dominant force in hurling but several good teams vying to be number one in 2011. Tipperary crushed Kilkenny in last year’s final and the cats seem to have taken a step back into the pack, rather than Tipperary emerging to join Kilkenny as an elite team.
Tipperary had a very mixed 2011 league campaign, but come the championship they will definitely be in the shake up again this year. However it remains to be seen if last year’s champions under a new management team have the same desire and hunger for 2011.
After Dublin’s impressive league campaign, winning their first national title since 1939, the Metropolitans will definitely fancy their chances at raising the Liam McCarthy cup this year. No team from any part of the country will see them as a soft touch and they will give every team they play this year a difficult game. Under the management of Anthony Daly, Dublin have improved significantly and this could be the year they outshine their football comrades.
Kilkenny are in most people’s books, still the team to beat in 2011. Under the tutelage of Brian Cody, arguably one of the best if not the best manager in the history of hurling, they are definitely a force to be reckoned with. Kilkenny managed to get to the league final this year even with a string of injuries to key players. It can safely be said that if any other team had to cope with the injuries Kilkenny have had, they would not have a chance at winning the All Ireland championship.
This leaves Galway, Cork and Waterford as the other realistic contenders for the Liam McCarthy cup for 2011. Galway had a good start in attempting to retain their national league title at the beginning of the year, but the wheels came off a bit after the big loss to Tipperary in the middle of the league campaign. With their star player Joe Canning back and if the team can stay clear of the injury bug, they will definitely be a tough prospect for any team to face in 2011. Cork looks to be in a rebuilding mode and most don’t see them getting much further than the last 8. Waterford, like Galway, have a very solid team and will be a difficult team to beat, but with the retirement of several longstanding and key players they might have passed their best.
It is shaping up to be one of the most exciting and open championships in years, hopefully it will live up to its billing….