When empires fall...
Published 30/04/2011 | 05:00
What happens when empires fall? How do they react in the following season? We chart what happened to four outstanding sides in the year after they lost their All-Ireland hurling crowns.
Beaten by Cork in the 2004 All-Ireland final, they regained Leinster in '05 before losing the All-Ireland semi-final to Galway, a defeat which led to suggestions that they were in serious decline. "We were depicted as being old-fashioned, losing finesse and about to head into a dip while Cork would pick up the three-in-a-row with casual ease. Talk of Kilkenny being a finished force, caught in a time warp, made me all the more determined to get things back on track," wrote Brian Cody.
Kilkenny went on to win the next four All-Ireland titles.
Triple All-Ireland winners in 1976-77-78 and Munster champions from 1975-79, they were regarded as one of the best Cork teams of all time. They lost the '79 All-Ireland semi-final to Galway and began 1980 chasing the Munster six-in-a-row, only to lose the final to Limerick. They regained the provincial crown in '82 but lost successive All-Ireland finals to Kilkenny before winning the title in 1984.
Many believe that if it weren't for a spate of injuries in 1973, Kilkenny would have won the All-Ireland four-in-a-row in '75 (they won in 1972-74-75). Wexford produced one of the biggest shocks in hurling history in '76, beating Kilkenny by 17 points in the Leinster final. Wexford won Leinster again in '77 and their next All-Ireland title came in '79.
All-Ireland winners in 1961-62-64-65, they were well beaten by Limerick in the '66 Munster semi-final but bounced back to win Munster titles in 1967-68, losing both All-Ireland finals to Kilkenny and Wexford respectively. Tipp's next All-Ireland title -- their last for 18 years -- was won in 1971.