Kilkenny goalkeeper Eoin Murphy believes that Tipperary are the team setting the standard this year following their impressive performances in the Munster Championship so far.
Liam Sheedy’s side have breezed to comprehensive wins over Cork, Waterford and Clare, scoring a combined total of 7-79 across all three games.
While the Premier County are soaring, it has been another bleak year for Waterford who are out of contention in the championship with one game to spare for the second year running.
It was only two years ago that Waterford overcame Kilkenny in an epic All Ireland semi-final to set up a final date with Galway and Murphy believes that the Deise are victims of the new round-robin series which is ruthless if you are at all off the pace of your provincial counterparts.
“Tipperary have set a standard there now, they’re probably ahead of the posse. In fairness, in Munster, they showed it there at the weekend. I thought it was going to be a massive battle going to Ennis because it’s not an easy place to go to. They seem to be a formidable outfit.
“Then in Munster Championship if you’re anyway off the mark at all, you’ll be blown out of the water and unfortunately, from Waterford’s point of view, they could have won their first game and you don’t know how their season could have taken off.
“I would have hurled with a lot of them lads in WIT. You know, your home games are absolutely massive, they’re vital for setting out a good stall and that and from their point of view – it was massive for the whole county to have the two home games in Walsh Park this year.
“A puck of the ball and they could have come out the other side of the result against Clare and their season could have taken off. There’s massive quality down there, I just don’t know – a small thing against Clare and their season could have been completely different.”
It’s not just the Munster Championship that is unforgiving however. Murphy admits that his side endured a slow start to the Leinster competition and were lucky to come away with a win against Dublin in the opening round.
“Even in Leinster now, you have to do very, very well to stay with the teams. Last year we were a bit off the pace against Dublin the first day and maybe a lucky break that could have been a free, some referees will give it, some won’t and fortunately for us that day the referee didn’t give it and we got a goal that got us back into the game.
“We were off the beat in Pearse Stadium and we got well beaten. It’s the same in both provincial championships.”
The new format means that teams have to be shrewd and efficient in terms of their recovery and preparation for the next match and the two-time All-Star maintains that it is just as important to make sure you are mentally prepared for the physically-demanding challenges.
“You build that steel in training. The mind will go before the body and you see it in documentaries of past Irish rugby teams and they’re just saying that make sure your mind is right, because your body will follow no matter what’s up with it.
“You have to be steely in the mind, especially now because if you leave one bad performance follow the next, you won’t get out of Leinster or Munster. It’s the thing of how you have your mindset for each game.”
Kerry Footballer David Clifford alongside Kilkenny Hurler Eoin Murphy and Cork Ladies Footballer Orla Finn today launched the brand-new Blueberry flavour Avonmore Protein Milk, just in time for a busy summer of sport.
Avonmore Protein Milk is proud to partner with GAA players as part of their training regime. A contribution from each litre of Avonmore Protein Milk sold is redirected towards GAA initiatives to fund grassroots GAA and GPA player development programmes.