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Thursday 9 February 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Brendan Maher and Stephen Cluxton grabbed the silverware last year.
# Crystal Ball Gazing
Who'll claim Sam? Who'll lift Liam? Our writers preview the 2017 GAA championship
Dublin and Tipperary were kings in 2016, who’ll celebrate this year?

Jackie Cahill

1. Will Dublin complete a football three-in-a-row or will someone stop them?

Dublin expended so much energy in winning two-in-a-row last year, it would be an incredible feat if they could pull off the treble. League results indicate that there has been something of a dip and Dublin’s main challengers will have noted this. Against that backdrop, Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s Kerry are well-placed to come from the pack and claim the Sam Maguire.

2. Will Tipperary retain the All-Ireland hurling title for the first time since 1965 and if not, who’s going to triumph?

The heavy League final defeat has raised doubts about Tipp’s ability to retain their All-Ireland title. Galway can build on that, they have the power, pace and skill to end an All-Ireland drought dating back to 1988. If Tipp can learn those Gaelic Grounds lessons, they can reach the Promised Land again. Neck on the line? Tipperary to win it again.

3. Who’re the dark horse in football and hurling to watch out for?

Donegal showed enough in the League to suggest that they can have a say in the race for Sam. They have the couple of marquee forwards required for any All-Ireland winning crop and a group of hungry, young players coming through. As for the hurling, Clare under Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor are a team to watch. Many of their players were All-Ireland winners as recently as 2013 and will be anxious to prove that success wasn’t a flash in the pan.

4. Pick a young footballer and hurler you expect to shine?

Clare’s Aron Shanagher has already made his mark at senior level and if the Banner County are to flourish again, expect this guy to have a big say. In football, Tipperary’s emerging midfielder, Jack Kennedy, has all of the attributes required to enjoy a long and fruitful career as a senior footballer.

Aron Shanagher Tom Beary / INPHO Clare hurler Aron Shanagher Tom Beary / INPHO / INPHO

5. Finally name your Hurler and Footballer of the Year?

Hurling – David Burke (Galway)
Football – David Moran (Kerry)

Alan Waldron

1. Will Dublin complete a football three-in-a-row or will someone stop them?

It’s obviously a big ask with so many championship miles in the legs but I feel there is more than enough depth in the panel for Jim Gavin’s side to prevail again. If Dublin can keep Stephen Cluxton, Cian O’Sullivan and Brian Fenton fit I think they’ll be very hard to beat. Kerry are undoubtedly a team on the rise but it might be a year too soon for them. There are too many doubts around Tyrone, Mayo and Donegal for my liking.

2. Will Tipperary retain the All-Ireland hurling title for the first time since 1965 and if not, who’s going to triumph?

For me the one team that can beat Tipperary is Galway, and that’s not just down to the league final result. Galway are probably the only side in the country that can go toe to toe with Tipp from an attacking perspective. The question is can they consistently play to near their best for an entire summer? My gut instinct says no. Tipperary to retain their crown looks the sensible call.

3. Who are the dark horse in football and hurling to watch out for?

Jack McCarron’s form in the league for Monaghan was scintillating at times, giving the Farney men a dangerous inside twin threat with Conor McManus. It could be the missing piece in the puzzle to see Monaghan reach a first All-Ireland semi-final since 1988.

In hurling, I could see Clare going well under their new management. They have a favourable draw in Munster — a win against Limerick and they’ll be in a provincial final. There is plenty of talent in the Banner and a number of their key men should be coming into their prime.

4. Pick a young footballer and hurler you expect to shine?

It’s impossible not to be impressed by the wand-like left foot of Donegal’s Ciaran Thompson. He earned plenty of plaudits during his side’s Division 1 campaign.

Ciaran Thompson Tom Beary / INPHO Donegal's Ciaran Thompson Tom Beary / INPHO / INPHO

The ability of Galway’s Conor Whelan has been obvious since he burst onto the inter-county scene as an 18-year-old. He’s grown into a powerful forward over the past couple of years who can win his own ball, while retaining those wristy skills that made him such a handful in the first place.

5. Finally, name your Hurler and Footballer of the Year?

Hurling – John McGrath (Tipperary)
Football – Brian Fenton (Dublin)

Fintan O’Toole

1. Will Dublin complete a football three-in-a-row or will someone stop them?

Dublin and Kerry are neck and neck but the league final was a landmark moment for the latter. They’ve shuffled their pack during the spring and discovered enough new players to get the job done this season.

2. Will Tipperary retain the All-Ireland hurling title for the first time since 1965 and if not, who’s going to triumph?

The league final won’t fatally damage Tipperary’s aspirations but it did reaffirm what Galway have to offer. They’ll need to make a statement in Leinster but have done enough over the past couple of seasons to suggest they have the players to end that wait since 1988.

3. Who’re the dark horse in football and hurling to watch out for?

They lost the Division 2 decider but Kildare have still clinched back-to-back league promotions and the return of Paddy Brophy is another major boost. Should be targeting the last eight. For Clare there’s a golden opportunity to improve their wretched recent Munster championship record and they could claim a last four spot this year.

4. Pick a young footballer and hurler you expect to shine?

Michael Daly is another Galway forward with huge potential, he whipped over a pair of superb points in the Division 2 football league decider. The Cork hurlers unleashed several newcomers this spring and Luke Meade looked able to make an impact at senior level.

5. Finally name your Hurler and Footballer of the Year?

Hurling – David Burke (Galway)
Football – Paul Geaney (Kerry)

Paul Geaney James Crombie / INPHO Kerry's Paul Geaney James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Kevin O’Brien

1. Will Dublin complete a football three-in-a-row or will someone stop them?

I fancy Dublin to do it. They looked human at times during the league and Michael Darragh MacAuley’s injury will hurt their presence at midfield, but I’m not convinced the chasing pack have enough quality forwards to take down Jim Gavin’s empire. I feel Kerry showed their hand to Dublin already this year and Gavin has until September to plot his revenge. Dublin to pip Kerry in the final.

2. Will Tipperary retain the All-Ireland hurling title for the first time since 1965 and if not, who’s going to triumph?

I think the league final hammering was the best thing that could have happened to this Tipperary team. It dispelled the notion they are invincible and focused the minds in Michael Ryan’s camp. But I’m going with Tipp to retain the All-Ireland.

3. Who’re the dark horse in football and hurling to watch out for?

I like the look of Kildare in year two of Cian O’Neill. I fully expect them to run Dublin close in the Leinster final and, depending on the draw, make an All-Ireland quarter-final. Also, Armagh to go well in Ulster.

Outside of the big four contenders in hurling (Kilkenny, Tipperary, Galway and Waterford), it’s difficult to see anyone challenging for the Liam MacCarthy. I do think this young Dublin side will cause a shock along the way.

4. Pick a young footballer and hurler you expect to shine?

Galway’s Michael Daly has the ability to go far and I think he’ll make a name for himself this summer.

Shane Bennett is an exciting presence in attack for the Deise and has the knack of scoring important goals.

5. Finally name your Hurler and Footballer of the Year?

Hurling – John McGrath (Tipperary)
Football – James McCarthy (Dublin)

James McCarthy Tommy Grealy / INPHO Dublin footballer James McCarthy Tommy Grealy / INPHO / INPHO

Steve O’Rourke

1. Will Dublin complete a football three-in-a-row or will someone stop them?

Normally, it’s a huge ask to defend a title once, let alone twice. That said, there appears to be more than enough depth in the panel and the run Dublin have been on suggests Jim Gavin has his team in the right head space too. Kerry look a team on the rise but I don’t know if they’ve the beatings of this Dublin team when it really matters on the third Sunday in September. It’s a yes to the three-in-row from me.

2. Will Tipperary retain the All-Ireland hurling title for the first time since 1965 and if not, who’s going to triumph?

There were more postmortems than an episode of CSI — topical reference there for you — after Tipperary’s heavy League final defeat to Galway but it might just have been the kick in the arse Michael Ryan’s men needed. It’s better to be trounced in the league than in an All-Ireland semi-final or final when you can’t bounce back from it. The Tribesmen appear to be the obvious danger but they might struggle more than some think to even win Leinster. It’s Tipp back-to-back for me.

3. Who’re the dark horse in football and hurling to watch out for?

In hurling, Clare. At 10/1 they offer real value to those looking outside this year’s big three. As for the football, Donegal had a fine league campaign but it’s hard to tell whether the ravages of Ulster football will be a benefit or a hindrance come crunch time.

4. Pick a young footballer and hurler you expect to shine?

His prospects will depend on how well Waterford do in the Championship but it’s hard not to be impressed by Patrick Curran who already has a minor and U21 All-Ireland to his name. How long before he leads his county to a senior one?

In football, you could try and be smart and talk yourself out of Con O’Callaghan because he’s such a clear favourite but don’t. He’s an unbelievable player who should really shine this summer.

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5. Finally name your Hurler and Footballer of the Year?

Football – Ryan McHugh (Donegal)
Hurling – David Burke (Galway)

Galway captain David Burke celebrate winning the Division 1 trophy with  his neice, 7 month old Thea Burke and nephew, 3 year old Freddie Burke Morgan Treacy / INPHO Galway hurling captain David Burke Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Sinead Farrell

1. Will Dublin complete a football three-in-a-row or will someone stop them?

Of course Dublin are not going into decline, but have they got enough in the tank to go for the three-in-a-row? I’m not sure.

The timing of the defeat to Kerry could reignite the spark they need going into the championship. But I think Kerry have the taste of Dublin blood on their lips and they’re primed to steal the Sam Maguire back.

2. Will Tipperary retain the All-Ireland hurling title for the first time since 1965 and if not, who’s going to triumph?

Given the margin by which they lost the National League final, there will be doubts hanging over them. But you can’t read too much into that and the Munster championship is a competition where they can roar back to life.

This year though, I’m going to back Galway to win the All-Ireland and not just because they won the League final. I think the change in Joe Canning’s role – from target-man to link-man – has given Galway a new edge and the forward line is linking up well. If they can churn out some consistent results using this system, I think they could win the All-Ireland.

3. Who’re the dark horse in football and hurling to watch out for?

Having impressed in the league, I think Donegal could be a potential dark horse. It’s only five years since they last won the All-Ireland, and while they have lost some of that crop to retirement, some of the class of 2012 remain. A change in management could be just what the Clare hurlers need to reassert themselves as All-Ireland contenders. They still have some of the players who delivered that success in 2013.

4. Pick a young footballer and hurler you expect to shine?

Dublin’s Con O’Callaghan has impressed this year and I would expect him to bring that form into the summer. Galway’s Conor Whelan has shown flashes of brilliance in recent seasons, but he’s really starting to fulfil his potential this year. His ability to execute turnovers in the opposition’s defence is such an important asset of his game and he’s a chipping in with scores as well.

Con O'Callaghan Presseye / Philip Magowan/INPHO Dublin's Con O'Callaghan Presseye / Philip Magowan/INPHO / Philip Magowan/INPHO

5. Finally name your Hurler and Footballer of the Year?

Hurling – David Burke (Galway) Football – Paul Geaney (Kerry)

Emma Duffy

1. Will Dublin complete a football three-in-a-row or will someone stop them?

Like everyone else from the other 31 counties, I’d love to see another side shake things up. You can’t but respect Dublin though, and it’s hard to see them being stopped. Kerry have been tipped as next in line, with Ulster sides – Donegal, Monaghan, Tyrone even – looking like they could also fit the bill. But ultimately, I’m going to go with the Dubs again.

2. Will Tipperary retain the All-Ireland hurling title for the first time since 1965 and if not, who’s going to triumph?

Tipp definitely got a rude awakening in the league final. The 16-point win will give Galway great confidence going into the summer, but the question is whether they can build on it. Championships aren’t won in April though, so I think Tipp will come back with a fire in their belly and retain their title.

3. Who’re the dark horse in football and hurling to watch out for?

As a Cavan woman, it pains me to say Monaghan. Jack McCarron and Conor McManus, as well as rising star Conor McCarthy are big threats to any defence, and all round, they’re an impressive outfit. Then for the hurling, I’m going to say Clare like pretty much everyone else. They’ve been knocking at the door , and with new management and most players hitting their prime, they could throw up a surprise or two.

4. Pick a young footballer and hurler you expect to shine?

Kerry midfielder Jack Barry established himself as a huge prospect during the league. Another graduate from the Kingdom’s successful underage ranks, he’s flourished alongside David Moran. Hurling-wise, I’d go with Aron Shanagher. He’s made a big impact for Clare over a short period of time and I can see him having a big summer.

Jack Barry Cathal Noonan / INPHO Kerry footballer Jack Barry Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

5. Finally name your Hurler and Footballer of the Year?

Hurler of the Year – Seamus Callanan (Tipperary)
Footballer of the Year – Paul Geaney (Kerry)

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