The hurling season well and truly got underway on Sunday as the National Hurling League commenced. While this isn’t yet the real deal, it is better for fans than the pre-season competitions as Championship 2017 gets closer and closer.
Here are five things that caught our eye on the first weekend of action.
Underwhelming First Night Of Action
With All-Ireland champions Tipperary facing Dublin in Croke Park and Cork hosting Clare, it was a mouth-watering opening night. However, what we got was two poor games, even for the time of year. The highlight from Pairc Ui Rinn was when instead of Amhrain na bhFiann we got the Italian anthem from the PA Leeside. When the ball was thrown in, all four teams were rusty as they get back into the swing of things.
Waterford Get Big Win Over Kilkenny
Over at Pundit Arena’s 16th Man podcast, I have criticised Waterford for failing to get over the line against the likes of Kilkenny and Tipperary. While it was only round one of the league, it was important mentally for Derek McGrath’s men to get the victory. Kilkenny had a chance to level it, but (almost unbelievably) didn’t capitalise and Waterford opened the campaign with the two points.
Wexford Get Crucial Limerick Win
Of course, Davy’s Wexford get a mention. A lot of Limerick supporters were unhappy with the performance of referee Diarmuid Kirwan but regardless, the important thing is the scoreboard – where Wexford came out on top in a physical encounter. It was a disappointing defeat for John Kiely’s side who can still get promoted if they can put four wins on the bounce – provided Wexford slip up along the way.
Galway Rack Up Huge Score
With all the focus on Wexford Park, it is easy to forget that Galway are also in 1B. They showed that they are perhaps too good for the standard becoming the only side to break the 40-point barrier with a 6-23 to 1-12 win over Offaly. For the Faithful, they will look to get wins over Laois and Kerry to at least consolidate their standing as number 10 in the country and may even fancy the scalp of Wexford or Limerick.
Ring Cup Champions Get 2017 Off To Good Start
We featured Meath in our ‘teams to watch’ as they are the lowest-ranking McCarthy Cup team. They had a comfortable 4-21 to 1-10 win over Down. It is so important for their confidence that they get through 2B without flaw as they have the worst preparation for the Championship as any of the top counties.