Thursday 22 February 2018

A decade of declines and steady climbs


martin breheny

Jan 2000: Without an All-Ireland title since 1993 (a veritable famine by Kilkenny standards) they lost the 1999 final to Cork in Brian Cody's first year in charge.

Jan 2010: The trophy cabinet over the last decade says it all.

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Jan 2000: In decline as the peaks of 1996 became ever harder to see.

Jan 2010: Relegated to third in Leinster behind Kilkenny and Dublin and still in Division 2. No real sign of a significant upward swing.

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Jan 2000: Still very heavy hitters at the top end of the market.

Jan 2010: A decade of decline for Offaly. However, they may have bottomed out and could be set for an improvement under Joe Dooley.

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Jan 2000: A win over Westmeath in 1997 was their only championship success since 1992.

Jan 2010: Settling into life at a higher level with ambitions -- and possibilities -- of doing even better.

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Jan 2000: Didn't win a single championship game in the 1990s.

Jan 2010: Have had some traumatic times but stability has been restored under Niall Rigney. Real recovery will take time though.

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Jan 2000: Opted out of Leinster championship in 1997.

Jan 2010: Back in the Leinster and All-Ireland championships after winning the Christy Ring Cup for two successive years. That's solid progress.

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Jan 2000: Building under Nicky English en route to an All-Ireland win in 2001.

Jan 2010: Nearly there under Liam Sheedy. Would somebody tell Kilkenny their time is up? Not exactly the easiest of jobs, now is it? Irrespective of that, Tipperary are probably better now than in January 2000.

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Jan 2000: Reigning All-Ireland champions with a very young team.

Jan 2010: That young team went on to win two more All-Ireland titles and make lots of other waves too, but is there much more left? This year -- the first full term under Denis Walsh -- will settle that question.

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Jan 2000: The decline from the 1995-98 peak was about to accelerate rapidly.

Jan 2010: Clare had five managers in the last decade and begin the new campaign with another new boss. Clare were losing altitude 10 years ago but were still much higher than now, although they are on a recovery trail.

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Jan 2000: Apart from 1998, the 1990s were dismal for Waterford.

Jan 2010: Coming out of their best decade since the 1960s they're still defiant and determined as they try to end the All-Ireland famine.

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Jan 2000: Hopes were still high for the seniors while a brilliant U-21 team was bubbling underneath. How could Limerick go wrong?

Jan 2010: Hammered by Tipperary in last year's All-Ireland semi-final and now without 24 of the county's top performers. Can it get much worse?

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Jan 2000: Polling high as potential All-Ireland champions some time soon.

Jan 2010: Ditto. But will this decade be as disappointing? In team terms, Galway are inferior in some positions, but Joe Canning's arrival has more than compensated.

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Jan 2000: Heading into a down period when they failed to win the Ulster title for the next two seasons.

Jan 2010: Arriving in Leinster was supposed to be a major boost last year but it made no difference. Still, the framework for a decent structure is there.

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Irish Independent

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