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'We had six or seven teams you could make a plausible case for as All-Ireland hurling contenders'

We talked to Denis Walsh, the author of ‘Hurling: The Revolution Years’ on this week’s episode of Warriors.

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CLARE ’95 OR Galway ’17?

Wexford ’96 or Limerick ’18?

The 1990s or the 2010s, what’s your hurling decade of choice?

This week on Warriors, our GAA podcast for The42 members, we followed up last week’s episode – Kevin Brannigan’s brilliant documentary on the summer where Wexford hurling danced at the crossroads – by considering the wider impact of that decade of hurling.

We dialled up the man who wrote the book on it with ‘Hurling: The Revolution Years’ as Denis Walsh, sportswriter with The Sunday Times, joined us as we tried to put that time in the sport into context and wondered should the decade that has just passed be regarded as highly for standout moments.

“I certainly feel that the decade just gone has been a more satisfying decade all round,” Walsh told us.

“Even though Kilkenny and Tipp have been the two most successful teams, you’d say well that’s the opposite of what happened in the 90s when you’ve got two of the old school teams dominating the roll of honour.

“But what I really like about the last decade is we had sustained depth in the championship and actually the last decade if you like is what should have happened after the 90s. I mean it’s taken the guts of 20 years for us to have a decade like I think we should have had straight after the 90s.

“Dublin were a sustained competitive presence for the first time since the 60s. Waterford came back as serious, serious contenders. There were a few years where we had six or seven teams you could make a plausible case for as All-Ireland hurling contenders. There was depth to the championship that we didn’t have in the 2000s, which we didn’t have for decades before the 90s.

john-mccaffrey-raises-the-okeeffe-cup Dublin captain John McCaffrey raises the Bob O'Keeffe Cup in 2013. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“Apart from Galway and Limerick winning their All-Irelands back to back, ’18 and ’17, there wasn’t the outpourings of emotion that we would have had in the 90s, we didn’t have the shocks maybe and sense of thrilling new beginnings but we had a far deeper, more sustained championship.”

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Check out this week’s episode of Warriors which is available to members of The42 and let us know your suggestions for future episodes on Twitter at @Warriors_GAA or email sport@the42.ie.

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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