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From Motoring Nicely To Pure Useless: How Each County Will Feel About League Campaign

Conor Neville
By Conor Neville Updated

With 1A and 1B done and dusted (Division 1B is a slightly more cumbersome way of referring to Division 2 isn't it?), we look at how each county and its supporters should be feeling about their spring work thus far.

MOTORING NICELY

Kilkenny

This time last year, they teased everyone with the prospect that they weren't what they once were. Once the championship began, it quickly transpired that this was a mirage.

This year, there's no teasing going on. Motoring on very nicely. Hot favourites for everything.

Kerry

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Wonderful result for Kerry, surviving in Division 1 at their first attempt, beating both Laois (twice) and Offaly. They shipped bad beatings against Clare and Wexford but rallied brilliantly in the last two games.

There is a buzz growing. 2,000 people attended their victory over Laois at the weekend. An unthinkable figure in the past. Players like Shane Nolan and John Egan have attracted notice by outside observers.

Clare 

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The first signs of a real resurgence following two years of baffling underachievement.

The media is fixated on Clare's high-profile management team but this should be an exciting year for the 2013 All-Ireland champions.

The win over Tipp at the weekend was the most significant yet even if one observer from the capital did attribute that to Seamie Callanan's free-taking woes.

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Limerick

Their annoyance at missing out on promotion once more might be mitigated by Sunday's superb win over the Dubs.

They racked up some startling scorelines in 1B. 6-29 against Laois!

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It should be borne in mind that the crucial top of the table clash, the match which decided who was getting promoted, was in Ennis rather than in Limerick.

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SO, SO CAMPAIGN

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Dublin

Many outsiders were ready to conclude that the Dubs weren't a happy camp after the withdrawal of Danny Sutcliffe, which followed on from the abrupt retirement of Michael Carton last year.

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However, they have put in a strong League performance, dispatching Galway and Cork comfortably and, most impressively, becoming the first team to beat Waterford in the League in two years.

A very heartening effort which was upset somewhat by the loss to Limerick.

Tipperary

The most stylish team in the land are intent on developing a meaner edge. Michael Ryan and Seamus Callanan spoke of making Tipp more able to 'mix it'.

After destroying the Dubs in the opening game, Tipp have had a fairly ropey League performance, culminating in Sunday's loss in Ennis.

Waterford 

Offered further proof they will be hanging around the top table for a while yet. The only worry is they appear to be losing momentum as the year has gone on.

Derek McGrath let slip his managerial tricks by telling the world that Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is his secret weapon.

Offaly

A mild improvement on last year's nadir. The win over Wexford will have served to crank up the pressure on Liam Dunne.

The loss the next day out against Kerry stamped out any growing positivity.

The game against Kilkenny was what we've come to expect.

THINGS ARE LOOKING A TAD BLEAK

Galway

The 'Kangaroo Court loving Galway hurlers', as Sports News Ireland dubbed them, suffered relegation at the weekend much to the apparent delight of those who don't like uppity players revolting against their gaffers.

Their League form won't have reassured anyone that they're not destined for another of their post-All-Ireland final 'down years'. 1991, 1994, 2002, 2006, and 2013 were all desperately flat seasons. Galway are at least consistent in this respect.

The response to their relegation broke into two camps. One was inclined to question the League structure which saw them relegated despite earning four more points than Cork in the League proper. Those in the other camp immediately cackled about their comeuppance for bumping off Anthony Cunningham.

No one could deny they were cursed with misfortune in this year's League. Conceded very late points at home to Tipperary and down in Walsh Park to miss out on victory on both occasions.

Cork

Their avoidance of relegation inspired mirth more than optimism. The mood around Cork hurling is bleaker than it's even been. There's no getting away from zero points from five games.

The mood around Cork hurling is bleaker than it's even been. There's no getting away from zero points from five games.

Cork hurling was down in the mid-1990s, but there was a belief, justified as it turned out, that this was just a cyclical phenomenon. Fed by the dearth of underage success, the fear is this time that we are witnessing a more long-term decline.

The current despair is being propelled as much by fear of the future as it is frustration with the present.

PURE USELESS

 

 

Wexford

Deeply unimpressive for the most part and marked by rumours of internal strife (centring on Jack Guiney's decision to withdraw) Wexford's campaign nonetheless finished with a spirited display against Waterford.

Liam Dunne has adopted the pose of the beleaguered manager. At the weekend, he complained about people within the county sticking knives in his back.

Laois 

Dire League campaign for Laois who may have been usurped as the torch carriers for the former minnows by Leinster's newest team.

A 32 point defeat against Limerick was truly alarming. Their form in last year's League wasn't too hot and it preceded a famous Leinster championship win over Offaly so maybe they needn't panic yet. Still though, Division 2 hurling next year...

 

 

Read more: From Very Happy To Beyond Shite: How Each County Will Feel About League Campaign

 

 

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