The news of Eamon O’Shea’s addition to the Tipperary hurling backroom team was met with widespread positivity across the Premier County last night.
The Kilruane native was a key member of the coaching staff when Tipperary won the All-Ireland back in 2010 and though he will only be an advisor to the management this time around, his presence just sparks a renewed sense of optimism.
Tipperary have come a long way since Eoin Kelly lifted the Liam MacCarthy Cup in Croke Park nine years ago but all of a sudden, there are so many reminders of that era in the current set-up. Liam Sheedy as manager with O’Shea advising him, 2010 player, Darragh Egan as coach, Seamus Callanan and Noel McGrath as captain and vice-captain respectively. While Sheedy hasn’t been slow to try out new players, it seems as though he is trying to identify everything from his previous stint that would still work today and blend it together with this new and inexperienced group of young players.
But the Tipperary setup isn’t the only thing this year that is reminiscent of the 2010 campaign. Let’s not forget that it has been nine years since Limerick were last in the top flight of the National Hurling League, while, like 2019, Kilkenny also went into that campaign as reigning champions.
Given these similarities, we think this calls for a look back to see how teams fared in the 2010 league. A reminder that the format was different then with eight teams in Division 1, Offaly having being promoted from Division 2 in 2009. The top two teams in the Division played the final while the last placed team were relegated.
The Cats went into the campaign as reigning League and All Ireland champions and with huge expectations upon their shoulders. They opened strongly against Offaly before losing to Tipperary on the third time of asking because the previous two attempts of the playing the game were postponed.
Their third clash resulted in a loss to Cork before a four-point win over Dublin in Parnell Park. Another loss to Galway followed but they finished strongly with a seven-point victory over Limerick and a final win over Waterford
Final position: Fourth.
The 2009 All Ireland finalists began their campaign with a nine-point loss at the hands of Dublin, despite Eoin Kelly registering 1-5 on the day. They were back to winning ways against Kilkenny the next day in front of a crowd of 20,000 in Semple Stadium.
Two comprehensive victories over Galway and Limerick followed but their momentum was halted when they drew with Waterford a week later. In their next outing, Sheedy’s men lost by a point to Cork before finishing their campaign with a one-point victory over Offaly in O’Connor Park.
Final position: Third.
The 2010 League campaign was a memorable one for the Tribesmen with only one loss throughout the campaign. They began with a win over Limerick before beating Waterford by three goals in Pearse Stadium. John McIntyre’s side endured their only loss against Tipperary in Round 3 before returning to winning ways against Offaly and Kilkenny.
Final victories over Dublin and Cork were enough to see them take the top spot in the Division 1 table.
Final position: Winners.
They would go on to win the competition the following year but the 2010 National Hurling League was one to forget for Dublin. They recorded only two wins throughout the campaign, in Round 2 against Tipperary and a 6-30 to 2-11 victory over Limerick in their final game.
Final position: Seventh.
Back in 2010, Davy Fitzgerald was still in charge of the Deise and could call upon the likes of Eoin Kelly and John Mullane for their scores. It was a mixed campaign for Waterford with three wins, two draws and two losses against Kilkenny and Galway.
Final position: Fifth.
They may be flying high in this year’s competition but back in 2010, Justin McCarthy’s side endured a horrendous time in Division 1, losing all of their seven matches. They were heavily reliant on Paudie McNamara throughout their campaign and the Murroe Boher man finished the league with a tally of 3-27, including 0-11 against Kilkenny.
Final position: Eighth – relegated.
While Offaly only recorded two wins throughout their League campaign, they did have the top scorer in their side as Shane Dooley finished the tournament with 6-57 to his name. In their first year back in Division 1, Offaly, like Dublin, recorded two wins, over Limerick and the Dubs.
Final position: Sixth.
Unlike Limerick, Cork are struggling in this year’s campaign but nine years ago they went all the way to the league final after five wins, one draw and one loss to Galway in the group stage.
It was a rip-roaring final between the Rebels and Galway in front of a crowd of 14,200 in Semple Stadium. Joe Canning scored 1-5 as Galway beat Cork for the second time in the hurling league on a scoreline of 2-22 to 1-17 with Cathal Naughton grabbing Cork’s goal after being set up by his clubmate, Ben O’Connor.
Final position: Second.