'Big Three' maintain vice-like grip
WHO would have thought it during the 1980s and '90s, when Offaly (4), Galway (3), Clare (2) and Wexford (1) won 10 All-Ireland hurling titles between them, that the new millennium would come under the control of Kilkenny, Cork and Tipp.
Kilkenny have been the ultimate power-houses since 2000, seizing seven of the 10 titles with Cork taking two and Tipperary one in what was the first decade that all the titles were shared by the 'Big Three'. And since Cork won in 1999 and either Kilkenny or Tipperary will take this year's title, it adds up to 12 in a row for the trio.
All very different to the 1980s and 1990s when they won five in either decade. What's even more worrying is Wexford's drop off the radar, while the long-term damage from the Limerick fiasco remains to be seen.