Can anyone stop the relentless Green Machine lifting Liam MacCarthy for the third year in a row?

Padraic Maher is sceptical.

"The way Limerick are going at the moment, they're flying," the former Tipp defender told RTÉ Sport, in the wake of the Treaty making it two wins from two in Munster.

"People are talking about all the injuries they have at the moment but the players coming in just seem to seamlessly slot into any position on the pitch.

"They’re all so well-coached and managed. They’re playing to a certain style or playing the game a certain way on the pitch so that they all know their roles, whether they’re No 26 on the panel or No 8. They know what is expected of them.

"They make it look so easy, so robotic in that they all know what they’re doing. It seems to work and teams are finding it hard to break it down.

"We have to see what Galway and Kilkenny bring this weekend. Maybe one of them could come shooting out of the group and putting their hand up. But at the moment it is very hard to see anyone toppling Limerick this year."

Waterford ran a Limerick side that started without Kyle Hayes and lost Cian Lynch early on to within three points last weekend. It was the closest margin in the five consecutive victories over the Déise during John Kiely's reign but that scoreline was also airbrushed by two quickfire goals from Stephen Bennett and Jack Prendergast.

Nonetheless, Maher thinks Waterford could still have an important say in the destination of the silverware this year.

"Waterford got some way close but the goals were late in the second half the last day," he said.

"Limerick were well in control I felt, coming down the home straight, and the two goals put the pressure on them alright.

"From Waterford's point of view, you would say Limerick were down a few of their major players and they still couldn’t overturn them.

"But they will also say 'We’ll have to beat Limerick in the championship this year if we want to win a Munster final or All-Ireland final’ so maybe it’s not such a big deal for them to lose that game. Maybe it’s the next game that could be the more important one to win."

Padraic Maher was reminding people to sign up to Darkness into Light, the annual fundraising event organised by Pieta, which takes place at sun rise on Saturday 7 May

Maher's old team-mates at Tipp are away to Limerick next week, having lost two from two and needing an unlikely win to keep their flat-lining championship hopes alive.

"I've no doubt that lads might want to go and prove to everyone that they are still a good side and they're worth something bigger maybe," he suggested.

"For all of us looking in you'd be saying, Jesus, it's all uphill, isn't it? But as a player you will probably use it mentally to your advantage. You'd kind of relish the opportunity."

If Limerick do climb the steps again in July, they will be the first team to secure three-in-a-row since Kilkenny won up four on the trot in 2006-09.

Maher was on the Tipperary team that stopped the 'drive for five' in 2010 but the Cats came back to claim four of the next five titles regardless.

How do Limerick compare?

"They are up there with some of the best. To me, I don't know if they are up with Kilkenny yet. That great Kilkenny team, they were outstanding. But they are definitely on the road to getting there.

"They are racking up medals the last few years, beating everyone comfortably. That speaks for itself, doesn't it?"

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