Sunday’s Allianz National Hurling League final was billed as the top two teams in the country going toe-to-toe, a match-up to excite all hurling fans, including neutrals.
What unfolded in the Gaelic Grounds was 70 minutes of hurling no one would have predicted. A close game was to be expected with a national title on the line, Galway’s complete trouncing of the Premier could not have been on anyone’s radar before 3.30pm on Sunday. Spectators were left wondering, exactly who is the best team in the country?
Tipperary were favourites heading into the clash, and rightly so would have said the majority. Coming off the back of a convincing All-Ireland final victory over Kilkenny last September and cruising through Division 1A and past the quarter and semi-final challenges of Offaly and Wexford respectively in this year’s league, were widely regarded as the team to beat this year in the battle for Liam McCarthy.
Galway beat the All-Ireland champions on Sunday afternoon, and beat them soundly at that. A 16-point winning margin did not flatter the Tribesmen as they showed ferocious intensity and hunger matched with a sharp touch.
It was evident for all to see, Micheál Donoghue’s side were not going to be found wanting in comparison to their Munster counterparts. A wide tally of 11 indicates how much more Galway could have knocked Tipperary for.
Bookmakers have slashed the odds on Joe Canning an co. finally claiming that All-Ireland crown that has evaded them for so long. Not since 1988 have the Tribesmen brought Liam McCarthy home to the west of Ireland.
Paddy Power have slashed the odds on the men in maroon climbing the steps of the Hogan Stand in September in from 11/2 to 7/2 after their commanding dismantling of Michael Ryan’s charges yesterday.
Tipperary remain clear favourites to retain their crown at 13/8 despite the side’s no-show on Sunday. Favourite backers will be wary of how poor a display their all-conquering forward unit put in without their talisman Séamus Callanan.
Kilkenny can be got at 4/1 while the Munster contingent of Waterford, Clare, Limerick and Cork make up the chasing pack.
Check out Paddy Power’s odds for the All Ireland SHC below:
Aaron Ward, Pundit Arena