The five most likely All-Ireland hurling championship winners ranked.
We have ranked the five teams most likely to win the 2021 All-Ireland hurling championship. Let us know your thoughts on these rankings.
It is a toss-up between Cork and Waterford for fifth place but Waterford’s win in the 2020 Munster semi-final swings the balance in their favour.
The loss of Tadhg De Burca is the main reason Waterford are not a small bit higher up the list, though Liam Cahill is an excellent coach and his side face Clare in the Munster quarter-final.
Waterford arguably overachieved reaching the 2020 All-Ireland final however, they deserved to win all the games that they did.
An All-Ireland title may be beyond Waterford but they won’t be easy opponents for anyone. Dessie Hutchinson is an excellent player who has the potential to be one of the best in the game.
Kilkenny looked very sharp in the league and seem to have adopted a new playing style. One can never write off the Cats and they seem to have found some new forwards who look impressive.
Kilkenny will hope to win their Leinster semi-final and it will take an excellent performance to beat them.
Brian Cody’s side were the best team in the country consistently from 2006-2015 but this is very much a new team.
There will always be good hurlers in Kilkenny although it is very unlikely a team will reach the same heights as the side that won eight All-Ireland’s in 10 years.
TJ Reid is one of the best hurlers of all time and any team with a player like that in their ranks will always have a chance of winning any game.
2019 All-Ireland champions Tipperary are certainly strong contenders.
Fans of the Premier county will argue that they would have beaten Galway in last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final only for the red card picked up by Cathal Barrett in the second half.
Tipperary have won three All-Ireland’s since 2010 and Liam Sheedy’s side should arguably have won more.
The 2016 All-Ireland winners will be favourites to beat Waterford or Clare in the Munster championship semi-final and Sheedy’s troops should be in contention come the business end of the season.
Galway are one of Ireland’s most consistent teams. The Connacht team have reached the semi-finals in five of the last six seasons.
Shane O’Neill’s side have only won one All-Ireland since 1988. The Westerners have won 18 underage All-Ireland titles in the same timeframe.
That is a serial underachievement and the 2017 All-Ireland winners have won the last three successive All-Ireland minor titles.
Joe Canning looked back to his best in Galway’s recent league victory over Waterford and if Canning plays to his potential it is very hard to see Galway beaten.
O’Neill’s team finished top of their group in the league and a Leinster championship title will be the minimum target for Galway this year.
Limerick won 13 matches in a row in 2020, claiming three trophies in the process. John Kiely’s side were invincible last season but were winless in their opening three league games this year.
Limerick bounced back with wins over Cork and Westmeath and will meet the former in the first round of the Munster championship.
The reigning All-Ireland champions have not got a weak link in their team and if they can keep their discipline and avoid giving away too many frees or getting lads sent off, they should retain their title.