There was a time when big hurling championships almost had the feel of Bank Holidays. We wished we'd more of them and hoped the weather would be fine and they always seemed to pass too quickly.

Now with the now-fangled, overly condensed season, each batch of games is upon us before we've had time to make up our minds about what we've already seen.


Cian Lynch: The most sophisticated model of centre forward we've seen

Limerick v Waterford

Limerick started with a bang last Sunday in Cork and they top the billing again in what is possibly a Goliath versus Goliath-in-waiting clash against Waterford at the Gaelic Grounds.

The Déise needed to call for reinforcements against Tipp. But being able to send in the likes of Austin Gleeson, Iarlaith Daly and Jamie Barron was as much a sign of strength as an indication of weakness. Waterford have the muscle but how they cope with the thinking bit is a test.

There are many great battles to look forward to in this one and it's a pity we won't see Kyle Hayes, who was ruled out overnight through injury. However, we have Tadhg de Burca, an exemplary No.6 in the modern game and how he copes with the most sophisticated model of centre forward that we've seen in Cian Lynch will be worth the admission fee alone.

It's hard to answer but when it's raining matches every weekend, people tend to forget what the forecasters got right or wrong. So, we'll be brave - or foolish - again and back Waterford to get a result.

Verdict: Waterford

Tipperary v Clare

Shane O'Donnell back in the Clare fold after long absence

Tipperary will be shaking their heads and thinking April is hardly over and we're close to last chance saloon already. After a good showing against Waterford last week, they now face Clare.

What version of Clare they face is important to note. In the league, when Clare were good, they were 'quiet' good. When they were bad, they were convincingly mediocre. Like Tipp, they've a mix of experience and youth. They'll be boosted by Shane O'Donnell's return and there's always Tony Kelly. They might have just enough hunger to steal something out of Semple Stadium.

Verdict: Clare


Wexford v Dublin

Lee Chin arrived to rescue Wexford against Galway

In Leinster, the main course is Wexford v Dublin. Wexford pick-pocketed a point against Galway when Galway should have been more wary.

Dublin were bang average in everything they did against Laois.

Both teams need the win. Wexford, at home, are in the better place, with the better personnel for getting the job done.

Verdict: Wexford

Kilkenny v Laois

TJ Reid scores a late goal against Westmeath last weekend

Kilkenny have an ominous sense of confidence since the latter stages of the league. Some would say they're back. They would say they never went away.

Beating Laois, as they will do tomorrow evening, won't tell us much more about them.

Verdict: Kilkenny

Galway v Westmeath

Galway will be smarting from their inability to make their dominance count against Wexford

The last game is where Galway play Westmeath in the maroon derby. This summer is a crash course for Westmeath and full of lessons.

This week's lesson is likely to be that facing Galway, when they're still sore about giving the draw away to Wexford, is a big ask. No chance for them here.

Verdict: Galway

Finally, it would be impossible to refer to the Galway GAA family without expressing love to all there following the tragic passing of Kate Moran.

Mere words aren't enough but such a loss is felt across camogie and hurling people everywhere.

Our hearts are in the west and with the Moran family and with the circles of community and friends and all whose lives were brightened by Kate's being.

Dónal Óg Cusack was speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland programme

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