Inter-county hurling returns in earnest this weekend!
The Rebels enter the new season under the guidance of Pat Ryan.
After claiming pre-season honours in the Munster Hurling League, Cork are now seeking their first National League title since 1998.
The momentum from that alone would do the Lee-siders no harm whatsoever, and reaching the final may benefit the team, given they have a bye in the first round of the Munster Championship.
Results aside, Ryan will be eager to settle on a balanced starting XV over the coming weeks.
Given the injury to Mark Coleman, there are key positions to be decided in defence, while up front a balance is needed. They are abundant in flair forwards, but ball-winners and work-horses are also needed to make this team more cohesive.
The Saffrons claimed the Joe McDonagh Cup last summer, following the inconvenience of relegation the previous year.
Darren Gleeson will be looking for his team to take the next step in their development, as they pit themselves against the country’s elite.
Antrim have taken some scalps under the former All-Star goalkeeper. Kilkenny, Laois and Tipperary make the trip to Corrigan Park throughout February and March, knowing just how strong the hosts can be in the Belfast venue.
The Ulster county will likely be without their Dunloy contingent in the opening rounds, but this team’s trajectory is heading upwards. A positive National League campaign would be the perfect springboard for their latest Leinster Championship foray.
2022 is best forgotten, from a Tipperary perspective. Four Munster Championship defeats by a combined 31 points fell far short of the expected standards in the Premier County.
Indeed, Colm Bonnar’s side never quite got up and running, with questions surrounding the side since their early-year defeat to Kerry.
Liam Cahill will be gunning to hit the ground running. 2022 may prove to have a silver lining, in how several young players established themselves as county senior hurlers. But this team has several questions to answer, and the bounce of a League title would be most welcome as they prepare for the gruelling provincial round-robin campaign.
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