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Dublin: 16 °C Wednesday 23 July, 2014

2012 Reflections: Hurling (Liam MacCarthy Cup) Part 3

In the third of a three-part series, we look back on the hurling fortunes this year of Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath and Wexford.

 Tipperary's Noel McGrath tackled by Michael Walsh and Stephen Daniels of Waterford in the Munster final.
Tipperary's Noel McGrath tackled by Michael Walsh and Stephen Daniels of Waterford in the Munster final.
Image: INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

TIPPERARY

2012 was…vitriolic. Despite a second successive Munster title the season was overshadowed by the second-half collapse against Kilkenny in the All-Ireland semi-final, the sideshow involving Lar Corbett and the bitter backlash that ensued amongst supporters in the county.

Their heart-warming moment…Their second successive Munster success. The final win over Waterford had been preceded by gripping victories over Limerick and Cork. It was a provincial title to savor.

Their gut-wrenching moment…The manner of their loss to Kilkenny. At half-time Tipperary were in the hunt for honours but ultimately crashed to a humiliating defeat.

They discovered that…they have fallen from the heights of 2010. Kilkenny and Galway have moved ahead of them and the Premier need to refocus in order to recapture former glories.

Turning to 2013…The team’s popular former coach Eamonn O’Shea has been installed as the new Tipperary manager. It will be interesting to see if the players will respond positively to working under a new regime.

WATERFORD

2012 was…disappointing. The Munster semi-final win over Clare saw Waterford’s battling qualities come to the fore but they were subsequently dislodged by Tipperary and Cork in their next two games.

Their heart-warming moment…That victory over Clare by two points in the Munster semi-final. The celebrations of certain Waterford players at the final whistle demonstrated the personal meaning it held for them.

Their gut-wrenching moment…The All-Ireland quarter-final victory over Cork. Waterford were in control as they lead by 0-18 to 1-13 entering the last ten minutes but they were overhauled by a Cork scoring spree and succumbed to a three-point loss.

They discovered that…they have a brilliant net minder in Stephen O’Keeffe. The young Ballygunner player greatly impressed this season between the posts.

Turning to 2013…Waterford have grounds for optimism in the young players that they are developing but need a greater scoring edge in attack as they prepare for a year where they will face Clare again in the Munster championship.

WESTMEATH

2012 was…hopeful. Defeat may have been their lot against Galway in Leinster and Wexford in the qualifiers but they have a bunch of decent players who they will be seeking to keep together.

Their heart-warming moment…The opening round Leinster championship victory over Antrim. Westmeath had not been fancied to succeed and were reduced to 14 men at one stage, yet they bounced back to fashion a victory against the odds.

Their gut-wrenching moment…The Division 2A league final loss to Carlow could prove most damaging from the year as promotion would have benefitted their side.

They discovered that…they have a gem of a young attacker in Niall O’Brien. He struck 2-20 in his three championship outings this year as he displayed excellent marksmanship from placed balls and in open play. One to watch in the future.

Turning to 2013…Getting out of Division 2A will be the first objective with Laois likely to be their biggest challengers. Then they face Antrim once more in their first day out in Leinster.

Wexford’s Darren Stamp with Paul Greville and Joe Burke of Westmeath in their qualifier during the summer. Pic: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

WEXFORD

2012 was…below-par. Qualifier wins over Westmeath and Carlow could not mask the disappointment of exiting in Leinster against Offaly and in the All-Ireland qualifiers against Cork.

Their heart-warming moment…The free-scoring form that Wexford displayed in the qualifiers. In two games against Westmeath and Carlow, they chalked up 7-34.

Their gut-wrenching moment…The Leinster quarter-final loss to Offaly. Bowing out at the opening provincial stage was a big setback early in their summer.

They discovered that…they have a great attacking prospect to develop in Jack Guiney. In his first season he showed flashes of form that hint at good things to come.

Turning to 2013…They need to make a concerted effort to challenge the likes of Dublin and Limerick for the coveted promotion spot in Division 1B. The championship will present an opening assignment against Dublin.

2012 Reflections: Hurling (Liam McCarthy Cup) Part 1

2012 Reflections: Hurling (Liam McCarthy Cup) Part 2


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