Continuing on from
the last post we can go back a few years for more proof of the importance of a good league run.
When Clare made the big breakthrough in 95 they did so on the back of a successful league. While they were well beaten in the final by Kilkenny the more important issue is that they won all but one of their group games and were in good enough form to make the final.
The following year, 96, Wexford made their breakthrough. While they were competing in Division 2 of the league that year they still had a good campaign, winning all but one of their group games to make the knockout stages. They made it to the semi finals where they lost to eventual league champions Galway.
Clare and Wexford were two of the biggest breakthroughs of recent times (in Clare’s case - the biggest undoubtedly) and the fact that they did so on the back of a strong league campaign should send a clear message to all other teams in similar situations that if you want to seriously challenge for the All-Ireland you need to be treating the league seriously and hitting 4th gear at least early in the year.
As the standard required for winning an All-Ireland has been raised significantly in recent times it’s clear that teams can’t switch on and off top form at the drop of a hat and even the great teams of the moment like Kilkenny and Cork have to carry and continuously raise their form all through the year.
Importance of a good League campaign
National Hurling League Starts