Tommy Walsh, one of the greatest to ever play the game of hurling, has given his verdict on this weekend’s quarter-finals.
The 2009 Hurler of the Year fears that Waterford may fall victim to the hype of beating Kilkenny.
Speaking in his GAA.ie column, Walsh cited his own county’s victory over Tipperary as a similar situation. When the sides met in the 2013 qualifiers, there was a huge buzz surrounding both counties.
In this instance, Kilkenny were victorious and the hype around the Marble city was incredible. Walsh admits it was similar to capturing Liam MacCarthy.
The nine-time All-Star fears that Waterford may fall victim to the same trap. Having beaten Kilkenny for the first time in 58 years, Tommy Walsh believes that may have been their All-Ireland.
“Waterford will have been buzzing for the last two weeks and everyone involved in the team can feed off the energy that has created.
“So why are they also in a dangerous position?
“Because I can draw a few parallels to the situation Waterford are in in now to the one the Kilkenny team I hurled for experienced in 2013 when we beat Tipperary in a qualifier in Nowlan Park.
“There was more hype surrounding that game than any All-Ireland final I played in.
“The intensity was just enormous. It was in our own back-yard and we simply couldn’t afford to lose it because it would have haunted us forever.
“We won, and the excitement in the county afterwards was unbelievable. It was like we had won an All-Ireland.
“Only one problem, we hadn’t.”
As we all know, Cork would go on to eliminate Kilkenny at the quarter-final stages of the 2013 All-Ireland series.
Certainly, it will be interesting to see how Derek McGrath’s side perform this weekend. While it was a historic victory for the Déise, it wasn’t won in the most convincing of fashions.
They will need to improve how they close out games if they wish to advance at the expense of Wexford this weekend.
Also, speaking of Tipperary, Walsh has doubts over the Premier County also.
The nine-time All-Ireland winner has doubts as to whether Tipperary possess the same hunger as they did last summer.
Walsh remains unconvinced by this Tipp side at the minute and sees Saturday as a huge game for Michael Ryan’s side.
“From what I’ve seen of them this year they’re focused, extremely fit, their skills have been mesmerising and their ball-winning ability is only matched by Galway.
“However, there is one ingredient they will need to find if they are to go all the way, and it’s hunger.
“They showed insatiable hunger in last year’s All-Ireland Final against Kilkenny.
“If they are to achieve what no Tipperary team has achieved since 1964/65 – win back to back All-Ireland titles – then they need to light that same fire in their bellies again.”
If their result last time out is anything to go by, Tipperary look back to their best. However, unfortunately for Tipperary, this performance is the outlier in their championship to date.
Defeat to Cork and a struggle with Westmeath are very unconvincing. Old flaws appeared to be the issue once again.
However, they will take hope from their performance against Dublin.
Maybe, just maybe, they might just be back to their 2016 form.
Kevin Daly, Pundit Arena