It's all very pointed for Tipperary in close calls
Published 06/04/2016 | 02:30
If Tipperary hurlers had smashed mirrors after tripping over black cats while walking under ladders, their luck could hardly have been more wretched in recent years.
The 2-13 to 0-18 defeat by Clare last Sunday was the seventh time in five years that they lost a game by a point. It was their second one-point setback this season, having earlier lost to Waterford by 1-18 to 1-17.
The defeat by Galway in last year's All-Ireland semi-final was also by a point, as was the loss to Waterford in the league semi-final four months earlier. In 2014, Tipperary were on the wrong side of a one-point loss to Kilkenny after extra-time in the league final.
All of their one-point defeats came after leading by different margins at various stages. Is it pure coincidence or a sign of mental fragility?
That's a worry that Mick Ryan will take into the championship as the more often Tipperary lose in tight calls, the more opponents will fancy their chances in close games.
Of course, it could work the other way, on the basis that the longer any sequence runs, the more likely it is to end so perhaps Tipp could be poised to start winning big games by a point.
Two big positives that they will take into this year's championship is the form shown by two of the young brigade, John McGrath and Ronan Maher.
McGrath scored 0-6 from open play last Sunday to add to the 0-5 he hit against Cork two weeks earlier. His league total from open play was 1-20. Still only 21 years old, McGrath is the real deal.
So too is Maher, 20, Having proven himself at wing-back last year, he's adapting smoothly and efficiently to life at No 6.