With the Premier league and European rugby nearing the end of another season, Irish sports fans have nervously awaited any news regarding the return of the GAA for some time now. Following the easing of a number of covid-19 restrictions, inter-county GAA has finally been given the green light for the 2021 season.
Similar to last year, the season will be in a slightly condensed format with the provincial knock-out championship and back-door qualifying option set to return. Each team in Division 1A of the Allianz Hurling League will have five games in the round robin groups of six before we move on to the Provincial Championships.
The 2020 hurling championship offered us plenty of action and some exciting results which perhaps we didn’t expect. In his first season as Waterford manager Liam Cahill inherited a group of players who had failed to win a championship fixture since the All Ireland semi-final against Cork in 2017. With the help of some new additions, including returning professional footballer Dessie Hutchinson, the Deise men looked rejuvenised and hungry for work as they continued to grind out victory after victory. The peak of their season came in an absolutely mesmerizing performance against Kilkenny in the All Ireland semi-final with Stephen Bennett and Tadhg De Burca offering the quality of individual display one normally associates with the true greats of the game.
Ultimately however, this current Limerick team remained too efficient a machine to pose a threat to the exciting Waterford side in the final as they claimed their latest All-Ireland title. Their smooth, free following but yet strong and accurate style of play seems to have placed them just out of reach of the competition for the moment. The combined efforts of Cian Lynch, Dan Morrissey, and hurler of the year Gearoid Hegarty will ensure that Limerick remain the favourites to retain the Liam McCarthy cup this year.