Folly to bet against top two repeat
WHEN Cork beat Tipperary in last year's Munster hurling quarter-final Liam Sheedy and his players were subjected to heavy criticism, mostly within their own county. Just over three months later, Tipperary were All-Ireland champions.
Declan Ryan and Co can expect similar treatment after last Sunday's All-Ireland final defeat, but the truth is that Tipperary are still best placed to emerge as Kilkenny's biggest challengers next year.
That's reflected in the betting for the 2012 championship, which has Kilkenny and Tipperary on 11/8, followed by Dublin on 9/1, Galway and Cork 10/1, Waterford and Limerick 22/1, Clare 80/1, Offaly 150/1 and Wexford 200/1.
What's depressing about those odds -- and they do represent reality -- is that the other contenders are so far behind the top two. It's all so different to the 1980s and '90s when the titles were shared among seven counties.