Kilkenny and Tipperary: Question marks over hurling’s traditional big guns ahead of 2021?

And so the 2020 hurling year has been consigned to the record books.

Limerick regained the Liam MacCarthy Cup, and judging by the comprehensive nature of their All-Ireland triumph, it appears the Treaty are here to stay at the sport’s top table.

But what of the main challengers?

Speaking on the Inside The Game 2020 review show, Sky Sports pundits Jamesie O’Connor and Ollie Canning said that 2019’s All-Ireland finalists, Tipperary and Kilkenny, could be at a crossroads.

“It might sound controversial, but Kilkenny and maybe even Tipperary,” said O’Connor, when asked which teams are surrounded by question marks ahead of 2021.

“Tipperary from the perspective that can Liam Sheedy get another year out of Seamus Callanan, Padraic Maher, Brendan Maher and ‘Bonner’ Maher? And all those guys who have given unbelievable service to Tipperary?

“Kilkenny, I just don’t know if the production line is going to produce enough players by the time the season rolls around next spring. TJ Reid, and Richie Hogan to a lesser extent, they still look totally reliant on those guys up front. If TJ is held, you just wonder where Kilkenny are going to get the scores from.

“Kilkenny, and to a lesser extent Tipperary. I wouldn’t say the older Tipperary players were below par this year, but there’s a question as to how long these guys can continue performing to the level they have for Liam Sheedy and Tipperary.”

https://youtube.com/watch?v=LH8Gr39E4Tg%3Ffeature%3Doembed

Ollie Canning was in full agreement.

“We looked at Tipperary this year, and we looked at a number of the players that started 10 or 11 years ago. And these are still the players that Tipperary are looking to produce the goods every day,” said the Galway native.

“Maybe they are going to find it difficult to get fresh legs into that Tipperary team. And I think there is a transition coming with Tipperary.

“The same would apply to Kilkenny. [The fact] that Kilkenny are so reliant on TJ Reid has to ask questions about this team. TJ has been doing it for so long now. When the pressure came on, he was the go-to guy this year. He is performing really well, but he is not the right side of 30. TJ should be the guy that is just the cherry on top. He shouldn’t be the icing and the cake as well!

TJ should be the guy that is just the cherry on top. He shouldn’t be the icing and the cake as well!

Canning says the Ballyhale star needs more support

“He needs support in that Kilkenny team, and they will need to find some support for TJ Reid up front, if they want to go on and win an All-Ireland in the coming years.”

You can watch the full discussion in the video at the top of this article.

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