Limerick are All-Ireland champions. That’s absolutely beautiful to say and it’s fantastic. It’s a different animal trying to defend that. It all starts again this Sunday.
Limerick will be looking at Cork’s performance last week and will be expecting a kick back from that.
The thing that will stand to Limerick hugely is, number one; It’s on in the Gaelic Grounds and number two; the experience of last year in certain games, Limerick managed the pressure.
As John Kiely alluded to several times last year, no matter what Limerick were hit with, they managed it.
They were composed and came out the other side. Cork will be relishing a crack off Limerick. Cork will still feel a little bit hurt and a little bit sore over last year.
Being so far ahead and Limerick come back at them, then Nickie Quaid’s save. They have a lot of motivation behind them as well. On top of that, they have the loss to Tipperary as well. It has the makings of a humdinger.
Looking back at last weekend’s action, the big talking point for me was Waterford being back at home in Walsh Park.
All the talk last year was about the importance of home advantage and that Waterford might potentially be a bit like Munster at Thomond Park, extremely hard to beat at home.
As it turned out, Clare won and possibly should have won by more. They made hard work of it.
There is something going wrong in Waterford because they have a lot of good players but they just didn’t deliver on the day. The game was ok but only really came to life in the last seven or eight minutes.
In the Cork and Tipperary game, I thought that Cork might just have enough to beat Tipp. On the other hand, the Liam Sheedy factor had a big say. Just take ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer as an example.
He is like a man that is after losing about two-and-a-half stone. They were all in great condition and a total different side that we saw in the Gaelic Grounds in February.
I was going to give Cork a fair chance for this season and I was basing that on if they found three or four more solid defenders. I don’t think they found that.
I don’t think that they have the six backs to hold the well oiled machine of our six forwards when they are moving well as a unit and as a squad.
They aren’t good enough defensively to hold our forwards and it’s in there is the winning and losing of the game.
Without a doubt I think Limerick will win. They are All-Ireland champions. They are League champions. They have had more time to execute the system that they play. They have it off to a tee.
From what I have seen in the league campaign, there isn’t too many teams that put enough obstacles in front of them to prevent the system that Limerick play. Going on that alone, I will be giving Limerick a huge advantage of winning on Sunday.