GAA Editor @BrianGBarry
Limerick setting the pace, and more takeaways from the weekend's GAA action
Last Updated: 19/02/19 10:23am
After a weekend of GAA action that saw round three of the Allianz Hurling League and the AIB All-Ireland club semi-finals, we reflect on what was learned.
Limerick setting the pace
Without the likes of Cian Lynch, Declan Hannon and Seamus Flanagan, the Treaty showed that they boast real depth as they comprehensively accounted for Kilkenny in Nowlan Park. In truth, the nine-point winning margin could have been greater.
John Kiely was given food for thought from the performances of Na Piarsaigh duo Conor Boylan and Shane Dowling, as both are pushing hard for starting berths.
They finish their Division 1A campaign at home to Cork and away to Clare. Judging by their performances thus far, they're dealing just fine with the target on their back that comes with being All-Ireland champs.
Putting results into context
With the All-Ireland champions drawing plaudits from all quarters, it's important to put the early stages of the year into context.
Several counties are operating without any great deal of work under their belts, as they aim to peak in the summertime.
While the Treaty are deserving of the praise, it's worth noting that similar headlines were written about Clare and Tipperary in the early stages of 2014 and 2017 respectively.
At the end of 2019, Limerick will be judged on how they fare this summer.
The Hurling League is a phoney war
The fact that there were 7,089 at the Harty Cup final and 4,737 for the visit of the Banner in Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday showed what was the more important game in the minds of the Cork hurling public at this time of year.
Large parts of Cork v Clare, Wexford v Tipperary and Galway v Dublin were played in second gear this weekend, as the top teams eye up bigger tests ahead.
With much of the weekend's hurling resembling shadow-boxing, we may not witness any sparring before the gloves come off in May.
'We've absolutely no hurling done'
Cork manager John Meyler said that the Rebels don't have much hurling under their belt at this point of the season.
Country's elite set for Paddy's Day showdown
It was clear from the early stages of the provincial campaigns that Corofin and Dr Crokes were the teams to beat, and that's exactly what transpired.
The All-Ireland champions from the two previous years will face off at Croke Park next month.
The romantic underdog stories of Mullinalaghta and Gaoth Dobhair were quickly set aside in Saturday's semi-finals, as the mouthwatering decider was confirmed.
Judging by the Kerry and Galway clubs' styles of play, this one promises to be a cracker.
UCC bidding for history
A Sigerson Cup/Fitzgibbon Cup double hasn't been completed since 1988, when the Cork college last achieved the feat. However, the men from the Mardyke have a real opportunity to bridge a 31-year gap this week.
Kerry duo Sean O'Shea and Conor Geaney were central to UCC's Sigerson semi-final victory over NUIG on Sunday, while UCD's shock loss on Saturday means the students donning the famous 'Skull and Crossbones' will enter the decider as favourites against St Mary's.
Meanwhile, their hurlers face Mary I in the Fitzgibbon Cup final on Wednesday night, and after disposing of a fancied DCU side in the semi-final, they'll be confident when they come up against the 2017 champions.