1. The hurling championship is alive
Until the weekend, it was proving hard enough to get excited by a championship that’s only question seemed to hinge on how many scores Kilkenny were going to roll every team over by.
That’s not the case anymore. Galway gave the championship its biggest electricity volt in ages with the sort of win that seemed impossible, by bullying and outhurling Kilkenny with pure intensity and physicality, and basically giving the champs the sort of whipping they usually dole out themselves.
Suddenly Kilkenny are seen as vulnerable – though quite how vulnerable remains to be seen – and everyone will fancy their chances. Galway, being Galway, will find it hard to replicate that level of performance.
But Tipp, Cork, Clare, even Waterford and Limerick will all look at the year a little differently this week, and see possibilities that didn’t seem likely. This was a real game changer.
2. Cork have real options from midfield up
It’s hard to take too much from the openness of the Munster football final, where Clare basically indulged in a shootout with Cork and the only possible result ensued.
But where previously Cork might have looked a little fragile if they lost a key player, now another serious option just fits into the system and the team rolls on.
Ciarán Sheehan took on the playmaking role brilliantly in Paddy Kelly’s absence and Fintan Goold settled back into the starting team. Nick Murphy has pushed himself into the number 14 role after looking like a bit-part player earlier in the year.
Daniel Goulding can’t get a start. Pearse O’Neill hasn’t been needed yet. And Aidan Walsh is showing his 2010 form in midfield.
It’s getting more and more difficult to pick Cork’s front six and form in training in the next month will need to be strong to stay in the side.
3. Tipperary aren’t going to go away
You might be able to dismiss one Munster championship but when Tipp minor footballers put a back-to-back together at the weekend, it suggests there’s something more to this.
Tipp, the reigning All-Ireland champs remember, have now beaten Kerry twice this year — that Kerry could come back and beat them in a third match is a crazy system by the way — as well as Cork. What’s impressive about their current underage side is their physicality, workrate and how they give the impression of a real team that’s put an awful lot of time into gelling together.
Michael Quinlivan has already come through from last year’s team to make an impression with their seniors and the likes of Ian Fahey, Tom Kirwan and Colman Kennedy ought to follow.
It’ll get harder and harder to keep Tipperary from the door in Munster.