GAA Expert & Columnist
Jamesie O'Connor says Joe McDonagh finalists disadvantaged by quick turnaround
Last Updated: 05/07/19 4:30pm
Sky Sports analyst Jamesie O'Connor looks ahead to Sunday's All-Ireland Hurling Championship preliminary quarter-finals, as Dublin travel to Laois and Westmeath host Cork.
Playing just seven days after the Joe McDonagh Cup final is a massive disadvantage for Laois and Westmeath this weekend.
The new championship format has been largely positive, but there are a few tweaks that ought to be made,
Some of the Munster teams had to play three weeks in a row this year, whereas Leinster split round three. They staggered it over two weekends. That meant no team had to play two weeks in a row. That's one change I'd like to see made.
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Two provincial finals being played on the same day also needs to be looked at. There was 51,000 in Croke Park last Sunday. The Gaelic Grounds was rammed as well. Hurling people would love to see one of those games played on the Saturday, and have an opportunity to get to both games. I'm certainly in that category.
The other thing that could be amended is that the Joe McDonagh finalists should have two weeks to prepare for the All-Ireland preliminary quarter-final.
There was an emotional investment in last week's final, and the Laois lads would have wanted to celebrate last Sunday night and they're entitled to that.
The seven-day turnaround is tough. But Eddie Brennan's side won't fear Dublin. They played some great hurling last Sunday, got some impressive scores and have a dangerous inside forward line. Home advantage will also be worth a few points.
But you'd still think Dublin are operating at a higher level - the games they've played, they're more battle-hardened. It's a big step up from the Joe McDonagh to where Dublin are at.
Dublin are battle-hardened, they have ambitions of a big day in Croke Park with Tipp, and I don't see them becoming unstuck in O'Moore Park.
Rebels waiting in the long grass
Nobody is talking about Cork right now, and that suits John Meyler down to the ground.
Cork have beaten Limerick already this year, and the Rebels are the one side that the Treaty have really struggled with over the last two seasons. Cork have so many top hurlers and so much firepower. They probably have more depth than they had last year. They've got to be respected, and that's a potential mouthwatering semi-final down the line.
However, they have work to do before they can think of a revenge mission against the reigning All-Ireland champions.
They should have enough to get by Westmeath on Sunday, which would set up a quarter-final meeting with Kilkenny.
There's still a lot of hurling to be played yet, but are Cork potential All-Ireland champions? Absolutely.
Sky Sports' live GAA coverage continues on Saturday, with Tyrone vs Cavan and Mayo vs Galway in the All-Ireland Football Qualifiers.