Tipperary Supporters Club

Founded 1986

Co. Tipperary

Who's going to make the cut for hurling's new seven-team elite?

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Source: Irish Examiner

“In the night, in the kitchen.” – David Peace, "Red or Dead".

You can’t imagine Pat Ryan clearing his kitchen table to pour over the current Division 1A table like Peace’s Bill Shankly did Liverpool’s league positions. 

Ryan says he has bigger fish to fry than next year’s league and you would trust him on that.

Board officers won’t be as averse to ignoring the status quo, though. 

With hundreds of thousands of euro of gate receipts on the line, one or two could hardly be blamed if they scrutinised Cork’s lowly position in Division 1A over these past couple of weeks and wondered. And feared. And wondered again.

In 21 days, starting against Waterford on Sunday, their fate will be decided. 

After which, they will know if they form part of an elite guaranteed three home games against Liam MacCarthy Cup opposition and boast attendances like the 16,274 people that watched last Saturday week’s defeat to Kilkenny in SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaoimh or join a septet comprised mostly of developing counties.

An analysis of the games ahead indicate five points is the magic number. That means at least two wins and a draw from the remaining matches with The Déise, Offaly and Wexford should be enough for Cork.

Six and it’s certain they will have no cause for concern. But five and they should avoid the stress of finishing as the inferior fourth-place team and therefore missing out on next season’s seven-team top flight.

Last season, both teams in Division 1A and 1B – Clare and Dublin – finished on five points as did Limerick and Antrim in 2021, while Tipperary ended up fourth in 2022 with six points. However, the current 1A section is considerably stronger than it was before while Dublin remain in transition.

Despite a poor score difference caused by the opening day loss to Tipperary in Division 1B, Micheál Donoghue is possibly estimating five points will be good enough to better the other fourth-placed team in Division 1A. Taking something from Limerick’s visit to Croke Park on Saturday would be a mighty boon.

That Waterford’s last two games, against Wexford and Kilkenny, are at home will give Davy Fitzgerald a degree of comfort but he too will appreciate four points runs the risk of missing out.

What we do know is two established Liam MacCarthy Cup teams are not going to make the cut. The prospect of which is enough to keep them up at night.


Division 1A.

Clare (4 points) – Two more points from the remaining available six will secure Clare’s spot in the new Division 1A and a semi-final berth beckons.

Kilkenny (3) – They should rise to five this weekend and then require one more in closing games against Clare and Waterford although they are both away matches.

Waterford (2) – Three more points will be most welcomed. A total of four points will likely leave them holding on tight for qualification via score difference.

Wexford (2) – Three Munster opponents remaining and yet to pick up a win, the final round clash with Cork could be crucial.

Offaly (1) – The display against Wexford was a real shot in the arm but they have a truly tough finish starting with Kilkenny away on Sunday.

Cork (0) – Win their three remaining games and nobody will be remember this pointless start. That March 16 trip to Wexford is already shaping up to be massive.

Division 1B.

Limerick (4 points) – Few eyeballs on the All-Ireland champions thus far yet they should seal their top-flight status in Croke Park before Tipperary and Galway dates.

Tipperary (4) – Liam Cahill can give his fringe men a chance against Westmeath safe in knowledge they are almost certain to be a Division 1A team in 2025.

Galway (2) – Losing to Tipperary means they will likely need to beat Limerick on the final day for a semi-final place. They should win twice before then.

Dublin (2) – The question for them is can they finish higher than four points? With Limerick and Galway in their remaining schedule, that might be tricky.

Antrim (0) – Darren Gleeson won’t rule out his men just yet but finishing out with a minimum of five points over these next three weekends seems unlikely.

Westmeath (0) – Joe Fortune has been treating this campaign as a non-relegation competition and they stood up to Limerick’s second-string side.

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