GAA Editor @BrianGBarry
Ollie Canning feels new managers are at a disadvantage in the 2020 Hurling Championship
Watch Cork vs Waterford, live on Sky Sports Mix on Saturday
Last Updated: 27/10/20 7:06pm
2020 has hardly gone as many new managers would have envisaged, and their preparations for the championship have been far from settled.
For Shane O'Neill in Galway, Brian Lohan in Clare, Liam Cahill in Waterford, and to a lesser degree Kieran Kingston in Cork as he worked with the group before, it has been a turbulent maiden campaign.
Just when they were getting to grips with their new panels, the action was halted in March - and it has been a quick build-up to the championship since squads reassembled.
"I think it is a disadvantage for new managers, and there are a number of teams with new managers in place this year," opined Sky Sports analyst Ollie Canning.
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"Any of the teams that have the same managers for the last two or three seasons, they will have a game-plan that they play to, a puckout strategy that they're all accustomed to. And for the likes of the new managers coming in, whatever momentum was built up at the start of the year in the league, that momentum has been lost at this point.
"The panels were completely disbanded for the summer and all the players went back to the club. So it's going to be a really, really big ask for the new management teams that are in place this year, to bring everybody up to speed, to try and implant the game-plans and the strategies that the new management teams would like to play to.
"It just depends if the players can get on board with that in the first couple of weeks back training, we should see that in the championship. But that is definitely one challenge for new managers that shouldn't be underestimated."
Nonetheless, it is an obstacle Canning believes the Tribesmen can overcome.
"Galway would have been disappointed last year, following on from the last round of games in the Leinster Championship," he said.
"To lose out on scoring difference would have been very, very disappointing. So I'd expect Galway to have a bit of a bounce-back this year."
I'd expect Galway to have a bit of a bounce-back this year.
Canning: Galway will put a disappointing 2019 behind them
Canning is expecting a few bolters to make an impact in the coming weeks.
"It's going to be an interesting year," predicted the four-time All-Star. "We haven't seen any real build-up to this year's championship.
"For the build-up to this championship, you could possibly see a couple of players coming from different places, new players, new faces that we haven't seen before, but have been playing really well in their own respective club campaigns, and may push onto the county team.
"Fintan Burke was a player that was coming through the underage structures in Galway, and was playing really, really well for St Thomas'. Unfortunately he had a serious injury, but everyone was hoping, he was back with Thomas' this year now, and looks to be going very well.
"So he is one player in Galway people will be looking out for. Maybe he would have made the breakthrough into the starting 15 before now, if it wasn't for a very serious knee injury he suffered. Hopefully he'll be back, and he is definitely one player that people in Galway and throughout the country might be looking for."
As for Cork and Waterford, who face off in Semple Stadium on Saturday live on Sky Sports Mix, the winter season brings a sense of the unknown.
"Cork are probably well known as a summer hurling team," said Canning. "You have to go back to the late 90s for their last win in the league, which is played in the earlier months of the year. They're a team that likes the dry ground and the fast ball. It's going to be a challenge for Cork playing later in the year. You're going to be dealing with adverse weather conditions, more rain, heavier ground.
"Looking back on last year's results, Cork beat Waterford by 13 points. Waterford really haven't shown any of the quality that got them to the All-Ireland final in 2017. Since 2017 they have had a couple of poor seasons.
"You would like to seem them bounce back and be competitive in Munster, because they've shown some great form three years ago in 2017. They will need to rediscover that form to be competitive in a very, very tough Munster Championship."
Watch Inside The Game every Wednesday evening on Sky Sports Mix. You can catch up on previous episodes on the Sky Sports YouTube channel.