Monday 25 September 2017

Key Questions for Counties to Answer in 2014

Clare hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald
Clare hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald
Aidan Walsh
Derek McGrath

KILKENNY

How much of a rebuild will Brian Cody deem necessary? Will he go with a defence where four of the six are over 30 years old? Will he move Tommy Walsh out of defence and into either midfield or attack in order to create a new dynamic?

Walsh won All Star awards at midfield and attack early in his career so he would be quite comfortable away from No 5. Now could be the time to do it.

Will Henry Shefflin succeed in re-capturing his best form after having last season so badly disrupted by injury which kept him out for a long time?

Clare

How will the squad, most of whom are younger than average for All-Ireland winners, cope with the demands of being defending champions, in particular the pressures of knowing that every individual will have been studied in minute detail by all opposition? Will Davy Fitz (right) stick with the tactical approach that yielded such a high return last season or amend it on the basis that everyone will have examined how it works and be better prepared to counteract it.

Tipperary

Will the memory of a dismal performance in the last quarter of the Munster semi-final against Limerick be the rallying call for a powerful effort? How will the squad react to the growing belief in Tipperary and beyond that they are not achieving to their full potential since winning the 2010 All-Ireland final?

Cork

How will they react to the All-Ireland final defeat? How can they strengthen the defence? Will Aidan Walsh's (right) arrival sort out their ball-winning problems in the half-forward line? Are they a work-in-progress or have they reached their peak?

Limerick

Has the Munster title win re-launched them towards a new era where they remain consistently efficient at the higher end of the market or will they turn out to be one-hit wonders? Will there be a change of emphasis under Donal O'Grady, who knows the squad from his previous season in Limerick, or will he remain loyal to how John Allen set them up last season?

Galway

Which is the real Galway, the swashbuckling adventurers who came so close to All-Ireland glory in 2012, or the inert outfit that misfired badly throughout all of 2013? Why did players who looked so good in 2012 look so inept last year? How will Anthony Cunningham sort out his central positions? Will he make major changes to the team, opting for several newcomers on the basis that he has got to be bold after the shambles of 2013, and that too many players are now linked to too many disappointments over several years.

Dublin

Will their Leinster title success represent a starting or a finishing point in terms of the squad's development? Will they press on from that success or drop back, similar to what happened in 2012 after a very progressive 2011?

Waterford

What impact will new manager Derek McGrath (right) have in his first season? Will they make their 30/1 All-Ireland odds look like the value bet of the season? Will the young talent mature quickly enough to make a season-defining difference?

Wexford

Can they build on the good performances delivered against Dublin (drawn Leinster quarter-final) and against Clare (second half of normal time in the All-Ireland qualifiers) last season or will they drop back to a level where they're not serious promotion contenders in Division 1B?

Offaly

Will Brian Whelahan's appointment as manager inspire a county where the glory days are a receding memory? Does he have the playing resources to bring about a substantial change?

Irish Independent

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