This year's Allianz League has exposed weaknesses in reigning All-Ireland champions Tipperary, who only delivered "two compelling halves" in their five-game campaign, says Irish Independent columnist Vincent Hogan, speaking on Independent.ie's The Throw-In podcast, in association with Allianz.ie
Vincent admitted that fans may not worry too much about League performances as "championship means everything" in the county.
The Premier County ended a hit-and-miss League run with a second-half collapse in Pearse Park on Sunday, letting a seven-point lead over Galway slip in a 3-21 to 3-13 loss, their third in five games.
And throughout the campaign, Hogan says that Tipperary didn’t put in a strong full-match performance.
"(Tipperary Manager) Liam Sheedy would have liked at least one compelling performance from this team. What he got was two compelling halves - their first half against Limerick in the opening game where they looked superb, but fell away like a team that was in heavy training," said Vincent.
"And then on Sunday, that Jason Forde goal was a work of art, some of the points they picked off were stunning, but then they really fell away.
"I look at some of the players they brought in, Cian D'Arcy, Ger Brown, Alan Flynn, and I say 'Show me the player that is going to nail down a starting place going to Walsh Park on May 10th.' I don’t see it," Hogan said as he joined Will Slattery, Donnchadh Boyle and John Mullane on this week's podcast.
Not securing a place in the Allianz League playoffs leaves Tipperary with a nine-week wait for their next competitive fixture, away to Waterford in their Munster Championship opener. But Hogan does not believe that the gap will affect them.
"They had a similar gap last year, and it didn’t bother them. We saw the way they turned up against Cork for the start of the Championship last year after going out in the quarter-final of the League against Dublin, so they can manage that."
Former Waterford player John Mullane also believes that other counties are looking at Tipperary's League form as an opportunity to build momentum going into the summer series.
"I certainly don't think they're invincible, I don't think they're anywhere on the pathway of where Limerick and possibly Galway are at the moment, so it would give (Waterford manager) Liam Cahill an awful lot of hope, especially with the tight confined spaces of Walsh Park.
"We seen it on Sunday, when Galway tightened it up around the middle third they got in Tipp's faces, and the Tipperary boys didn't like it. I would give Waterford every chance on May 10th," said Mullane.
"An awful lot of it is going to come back to what Liam Sheedy's eyes are going to witness over the course of the next eight weeks.
"If there's one of those young lads are showing up well in training, does he throw them in and say 'you know what, two or three of yee have shown me what you're capable of, I'm going to throw you in' or does he stay loyal to the lads that got him over the line last year in the All-Ireland.
"I think if he stays loyal to a couple of the lads, particularly in defence, they could struggle this year. They have good talent there within the previous Under-20 and Under-21 squads that could break into this Tipperary team."