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John Mullane ranks his hurling Top Five ahead of the 2018 championship following Kilkenny's league triumph

8 April 2018; Kilkenny captain Cillian Buckley and partner Niamh Dowling following the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Nowlan Park in Kilkenny. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
8 April 2018; Kilkenny captain Cillian Buckley and partner Niamh Dowling following the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary at Nowlan Park in Kilkenny. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Max Ryan

With League action behind us for another year, attention has turned to the All-Ireland Hurling Championship and Waterford legend John Mullane has weighed in by ranking his top five teams heading into the summer.

Speaking on The Throw-In, Independent.ie’s GAA podcast in association with Allianz, Mullane tipped reigning champions Galway to retain the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

“I’m going to go for Galway at number one,” he said. “I think they’re still the team to beat.

“We can’t overlook them even though we haven’t seen enough of them because they were late back from all their celebrations but I don’t think the League was ever the priority for them.”

Behind the Tribesmen, Mullane has losing League finalists Tipperary down as second favourites despite their defeat to Kilkenny.

“I’m still going go for Tipp at number two,” he said. “With a bit of rejigging at the back, maybe put Cathal Barrett back at corner-back, maybe Donagh Maher in another corner or Cathal Barrett at wing back and Donagh Maher back at number four.”

Mullane believes that Brian Cody’s Cats have slashed their odds by storming to the League title.

“Kilkenny for me have moved up the rankings,” he said. “They’re in at number three because they’re really hot on the heels of Tipperary and Galway for me.”

Beyond the three favourites, Mullane can look no further than his home county, while he also believes Limerick might have an outside chance of Championship glory.

“I’m going to go for my own county at number four,” he said. “We can’t forget what they achieved last year and I don’t think the league, a bit like Galway, was the priority and it’s the be all and end all now for Derek McGrath to win an All-Ireland.

“I think Limerick are going to have a big say in the campaign come the summertime and they will be contenders for me in Munster.”

Subscribe to The Throw-In, Independent.ie's weekly GAA podcast in association with Allianz, for the best in GAA discussion and analysis every week, with some of the biggest names in football and hurling from Joe Brolly, Tomás Ó'Sé and John Mullane.

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