The quality of hurling is improving year-on-year and more games will add to that improvement. But as a neutral there’s a familiarity that dulls the excitement, and this won’t help in that regard. It’ll also lessen the chances of a surprise package claiming provincial glory. Kilkenny never went away. They’ve made some tactical tweaks and showed that when it goes to the wire they still have it over most teams. The likes of Galway and Tipp will hope that they will come in fresher for an extended championship.
Seamus Callanan . He should have won it in 2016 and if Tipp do as well as I expect them to this year, a fully fit Callanan will again be at the heart of it all. This year’s championship will certainly change things, requiring teams to peak for longer. Based on that Limerick could cause a few upsets. Consistency remains their biggest challenge. Backing anybody but Kilkenny is never wise, but on their day Tipperary remain the best team. Getting their key players fit and firing will be essential.