Kilkenny kit man for over two decades, Denis 'Rackard' Cody
Everyone jumped to the conclusion and thought the world was going to take on a new order for a long, long time, but it didn’t come to pass.
Up stepped Galway. They were crowed All-Ireland senior hurling champions in 2017, beating long, long time title chasers Waterford in the final.
The gap from that Galway win in 2017 to their previous one in 1988 was 29 years.
Then up stepped Limerick, who in 2018 won the MacCarthy Cup for the first time since 1973, a gap of 45 years.
The Shannonsiders beat Galway in a high class, closely fought decider at the end of a championship that threw up copious amounts of thrilling matches.
The 2018 championship was reckoned by many to be the best in decades.
All the signs pointed towards a new order in the hurling world, and those cold hearted observers, the bookies agreed.
Lively Limerick, who claimed the National League title in between, were going to be champions again in 2019, they told anyone willing to listen, or put down their money.
The big three of Kilkenny, Cork and Tipperary, who head the Roll of Honour with 36, 30 and 27 titles respectively only got a mention on the undercard, if you like.
The words of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds speaking about “a temporary little arrangement” when referring to a Coalition with the PDs came to mind.
The hurling world hasn’t been turned on its head, although it is changing, and for the better with more contenders edging their way into the picture.
The victories of Galway and Limerick were most welcome. What they must have done for hurling in the counties no one knows, but it is good to spread the gospel of hurling.
Galway and Limerick are two proud hurling counties, with strong club structures, and they won’t go away.
For now, however, the All-Ireland final picture is a familiar one, featuring great rivals Kilkenny and Tipperary.
The colours in Croke Park on Sunday, August 18 will be blue and gold and, of course, black and amber.
There will be a small spattering of maroon and white, as defending champions Galway will feature in the minor hurling final against Kilkenny.
This will be Kilkenny versus Tipperary for the 21st time in the GAA hurling All-Ireland final.
Tipperary lead 11-8, with one draw from their previous 20 All-Ireland final clashes with Kilkenny.
Their most recent success coming in 2016 when they won by 2-29 to 2-20.
That was also the last time either county was in the All-Ireland final.
Kilkenny were beaten twice in this year’s championship, going down to Galway by 3-20 to 2-22 in the Leinster ‘round robin’ and to Wexford by 1-23 to 0-23 in the Leinster final.
They also drew with Wexford in the Leinster round robin.
They beat Dublin, Carlow, Cork and Limerick.
Tipperary lost once to Limerick by 2-26 to 2-14 in the Munster final.
They beat Cork, Waterford, Clare and Limerick (round robin), Laois and Wexford.
Now for August 18 and the final!
The championship 2019:
Round 1 May 11 - Kilkenny 2-23, Dublin 1-21, Nowlan Park.
May 12 - Galway 1-24, Carlow 1-18, Pearse Stadium
Round 2 May 18 - Kilkenny 3-22, Carlow 1-14, Netwatch Cullen Park; Dublin 1-22, Wexford 2-19, Parnell Park.
Round 3 May 26 - Galway 0-16, Wexford 0-16, Pearse Stadium; June 1 Dublin 2-22, Carlow 1-13, Netwatch Cullen Park.
Round 4 June 8 - Wexford 2-28, Carlow 0-19, Innovate Wexford Park; June 9 - Galway 3-20, Kilkenny 2-22, Nowlan Park.
Round 5 June 15 - Dublin 3-19, Galway 0-24, Parnell Park; Wexford 0-21, Kilkenny 1-18, Innovate Wexford Park.
June 30 Leinster final - Wexford 1-23, Kilkenny 0-23, Croke Park.
May 12 - Clare 1-20, Waterford 0-22, Walsh Park; Tipperary 2-28, Cork 1-24, Pairc Ui Chaoimh.
Round 2 May 19 - Cork 1-26, Limerick 1-19, LIT Gaelic Grounds; Tipperary 2-30, Waterford 0-18, Semple Stadium.
Round 3 June 2 - Limerick 2-24, Waterford 0-10, Walsh Park; Tipperary 3-21, Clare 0-17, Ennis.
Round 4 June 8 - Cork 2-30, Waterford 2-17, Pairc Ui Chaoimh.
June 9 - Limerick 1-28, Clare 0-13, LIT Gaelic Grounds
Round 5 June 16 - Clare 2-23, Cork 2-18, Ennis; Tipperary 1-22, Limerick 0-21, Semple Stadium
June 30 Munster final - Limerick 2-26, Tipperary 2-14, LIT Gaelic Grounds.
July 7 preliminary quarter-finals - Cork 1-40, Westmeath 0-20, Mullingar; Laois 1-22, Dublin 0-23, Portlaoise.
July 14 All-Ireland quarter-finals - Kilkenny 2-27, Cork 3-18, Croke Park; Tipperary 2-25, Laois 1-18.
July 27 All-Ireland semi-final - Kilkenny 1-21, Limerick 2-17, Croke Park.
July 28 All-Ireland semi-final - Tipperary 1-28, Wexford 3-20, Croke Park.
August 18 All-Ireland final - Kilkenny v Tipperary, Croke Park.
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