Wexford, five games from five. Dublin flying in year four under Mattie Kenny. Waterford, the team that will take down Limerick, could win the league, and will arguably play Limerick three times this year in the championship. Cork flying. Is this the end of the Limerick team? Are Galway really making any progress under Henry? Is it time that Brian Cody hangs up his baseball cap?
Well, this was all the commentary throughout the league.
It would make you laugh really.
Are we ever going to learn that the league is just the league, and few learnings can come from it? When you look at the teams in the league who were flying and gathering pace, compared to the teams that started as slow as snails, it really would make a fool of you. If Cork beat Tipperary at the weekend, which is now a huge possibility, Waterford will be out. Hard to believe really.
I have no problem in putting my hand up and saying I think a lot of this Waterford set up. I do believe they are the second best team in the country. But is it a case that the talk of that has set into the minds of the players and they have expected things to happen, rather than making things happen?
So much has been made of this Waterford group in recent months. Their last few games have been lacklustre. They struggled to get over the line against Tipp, beaten by Limerick, and maybe those two goals at the end glossed over how they really are going, and they were poor against Cork.
It's hard to put your finger on it really. Is it solely a case that Walsh Park doesn't suit them? Well I don’t buy that anyway.
Coming into last weekend, I fully thought that this weekend would be a weekend of dead rubbers. I thought Cork and Tipperary would be playing for pride, and OK fair enough Waterford v Clare would have playing for a place in the Munster final, but both knowing that at least they qualified for the All-Ireland series.
Who could have actually predicted that Cork would have went down to Walsh Park and turned over Waterford? Looking at the Cork performances before last Sunday, it was all set up for a Waterford win and for Cork to dwindle out of the championship. But they didn’t. They stood up, and were counted.
They said enough was enough. And it’s about time.
It's never nice to be constantly receiving criticism, and they showed that they have something. Kieran Kingston made some changes that take liathróidí, especially when you are under so much pressure.
And because of that, Cork's fate in the All-Ireland now lies in their own hands. An amazing turnaround really. Ironically though, if Tipperary beat Cork by seven points and Clare pulled off a win, Tipp would qualify. Imagine that after all the talk.
It almost has the feel of a last day of the Premier League season (which is also this Sunday). One game on RTÉ1, the other on RTÉ2. Both at 4pm. It will be a case of flicking over and back to see what's going on, and what twists and turns the games will take.
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Again, similar enough to Cork v Waterford last weekend, I expected Wexford to take Westmeath, and the Dubs to, well, if not beat Kilkenny, at least rattle them and have them knowing going home that they had a game.
That way, the Dubs would be confident of having a cut off Galway, and Wexford thinking they could have a rattle off Kilkenny.
I got both wrong, and now the confidence of both groups must be surely in their boots. Wexford drew with Westmeath, and the Dubs were shockling. It really is hard to see Dublin going to Salthill and turning them over, and could anyone really see Wexford beating the Cats in Nowlan Park after losing to Dublin at home, scraping a draw with Galway at home and then last weekend?
Wexford are a team that I think have loads of potential, but have they really delivered in the last number of years with 2019 being the exception?
I thought it was a good move by Darragh Egan going down there. And maybe it still will be. I often say, when a manager goes in for the first time in year one, you can go all out early doors, and blow up then when it's most important.
That’s what it looks like. For Egan, if he could muster up one big performance and pull off a win at the weekend, it would be great for him to get out of Leinster. But failing to get out puts added pressure on the following year.
Mattie Kenny knows that if Kilkenny just beat Wexford, they qualify regardless of the result against Galway.
If you had to go by form and nothing else, we could call who will still be in the championship come six o'clock Sunday, but nothing is ever straightforward, is it?
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