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John Mullane Questions Gulf Between Leinster And Munster Hurling Championships

John Mullane Questions Gulf Between Leinster And Munster Hurling Championships
Eoin Harrington
By Eoin Harrington
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We were treated to yet another vintage day of Munster hurling action on Sunday, with two top quality games as the provincial championships wind towards their conclusion.

First up was the thrilling encounter between Clare and Cork in Ennis, with Clare taking victory by just one point deep into injury time to secure their place in the Munster final.

That was followed by an even better contest in Semple Stadium between All-Ireland champions Limerick and hosts Tipperary, with honours even after 70 minutes of back-and-forth action.

Tipperary Limerick

21 May 2023; Noel McGrath of Tipperary is tackled by Johnny Ryan of Tipperary during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 4 match between Tipperary and Limerick at FBD Semple Stadium in Thurles, Tipperary. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

The Munster hurling championship seldom fails to deliver, but the action in the south-west of the country is in stark contrast to that in the Leinster hurling championship.

There was drama at the bottom end of the Leinster championship on Sunday, with a dramatic comeback win for Westmeath against Wexford raising the prospect of the Yellowbellies being relegated from the championship for 2024.


But, at the other end of the table, Galway and Kilkenny are comfortably marching towards the provincial final, having won every game they have played - bar their meeting, which finished in a draw.


Behind them, Dublin are also guaranteed of progressing to the All-Ireland preliminary quarter-final, with a similarly routine run bar their games against Kilkenny and Galway.

The gulf in class between the Munster championship, where all but one of the five teams still stand a chance of playing in the provincial final, and the Leinster championship, where the top three slots are effectively locked in, is once again a point of discussion, and John Mullane spoke about the issue on 'Sunday Sport.'


Hurling: John Mullane on gap between Leinster and Munster championships

Waterford legend John Mullane spoke live on air in the aftermath of Tipperary and Limerick's dramatic draw at Semple Stadium, and was asked for his thoughts on what made the Munster hurling championship so special.

He said that the Munster championship was the best asset in the hurling world, before suggesting that Kilkenny and Galway were given an unfair advantage over the Munster teams competing for Liam MacCarthy, due to their easier provincial run:

It's the jewel in the crown. Something's got to give, and they've really seriously got to look at it.

I think the contrast between both [Leinster and Munster] is just chalk and cheese as regards atmosphere, as regards attendance, with regard to quality of games.

No disrespect to some of the teams in Leinster. You're probably going to have one or two teams that are gonna be gone out of the championship, and you've one team in Leinster, possibly, that are going to find themselves in an All-Ireland quarter-final.

I just don't think the imbalance is sustainable going forward. You look at the Munster championship - the funny thing about it is, Kilkenny and Galway are sitting back nice and fresh, can time their run, get through in second or third gear. We've seen it, last year with Clare, they were overcooked going into that All-Ireland semi-final, and were energyless.

Something has to be looked at going forward. How much is this going to take out of these teams when they do reach the All-Ireland series?

It has been a painful year for Mullane's home county of Waterford, with the Deise rooted to the bottom of the table with three losses from three. Nonetheless, Mullane thinks that Waterford would stand a chance of progressing from the Leinster round-robin, such is the gulf between the provincial championships:

The contrast between Munster and Leinster...as bad as Waterford are, I still think they could probably come out of Leinster in the top three. That's the difference.

With the All-Ireland football format being tweaked for 2023, it will be fascinating to see if the GAA follow that up by making changes to the hurling format.

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