TIPPERARY are my favourites for the All-Ireland, based on what we've seen to date in the National League. Despite losing heavily to Cork in their opening game, Tipp finished on top of Division 1A and have the easier semi-final, against the Division 1B champions.
The performance of the league was Tipp's demolition job on Galway in Salthill and, while they had a blip in Walsh Park last week, yesterday's 11-point victory over Clare was another big statement from the Premier County. They have a big panel and serious forwards.
They're putting up big scores and they're scoring goals again. That is the key for Tipp.
It's a massive setback for Clare. Of all the teams in the league, Clare would be the fittest and psychologically, this is a big defeat for some of their younger players.
It will be interesting to see how they regroup for the Cork match as it can be quite difficult to beat a team twice in the space of a few weeks.
Davy Fitz (above) will find it hard to pick his players up but, knowing him, he won't panic too much. Clare are still very much a work in progress and they may have to endure a few more days like this along the way.
It shouldn't be forgotten that they came up from Division 1B last year and, all in all, they've acquitted themselves quite well in the top flight. I still fancy them to emerge as a serious championship force in the summer.
Cody pulls Cats out of the bag yet again
THE happiest manager in the country this morning will surely be Brian Cody. The Cats got off to a poor start and yet here they are, back in another league semi-final.
It's a fine achievement, considering the number of players that have yet to return.
They're only scraping through games, compared to other years when they were blitzing teams, but Cody won't mind that. He knows that the cavalry are coming, but they're going to need those big players back and firing – I still believe the players coming through in Kilkenny are not of the same quality as those out injured.
As for Cork, they're unlucky to find themselves in a relegation play-off. They had a great win against Tipp but the result that really let them down was losing to Clare, and now they'll have to scrap against the Banner again.