Work rate deficit illustrates how far Tipperary have strayed from their hurling identity

When a death occurs under suspicious circumstances it is standard practice to hold an inquest – such a procedure assists with the grieving process. The same goes for unexpected championship defeats. And, since the surprise reversal suffered at the hands of Cork in the quarter-final of the Munster Senior Hurling Championship the air in Tipperary has been thick with sulphur. But rather than search for heads to mount on pikes we decided to take a measured look at the statistical performance of the Tipperary team and thereby assess how far Michael Ryan’s hurlers need to travel in order to re-discover the hard-working identity associated with the team in 2016. Continue reading

More than a feeling: why a Waterford win in the Munster final would represent a victory for ideas

A victory for Waterford in the Munster final would represent a victory for ideas – Derek McGrath has set out to beat the game and the example set is as convention-defying as anything we have ever seen.

Pundits are concerned about the trajectory of the game; they argue that the spectacle needs to improve and that tactics in general pose a risk to hurling’s future – more specifically Waterford’s counter-attacking approach is regarded as pejorative.

The misinterpretation of Waterford’s style, however, begs the question: do followers of the game actually understand what they are looking at?

Australian journalist James Coventry identified a disconnect between how supporters and pundits perceived Aussie Rules and how the game actually worked – in 2015 Coventry published a book which attempted to explain the game to the general public and drag the stakeholders together in a practical way.

Is something similar required to explain hurling?
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