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Croke Park hosts the first of the GAA Hurling All-Ireland semi-finals on Sunday when neighbours Kilkenny and Waterford clash 3.30pm
In the end, perhaps not all that surprisingly, each of the four counties from the Leinster and Munster finals ultimately made it through to an All-Ireland semi-final.
As Waterford effectively cruised into a semi-final with Kilkenny, many onlookers were understandably left looking a little confused.
For the sixth year in a row the Galway hurlers have been knocked out of the All-Ireland senior hurling championship before the Galway Races. And last Sunday’s 10-point defeat to Waterford was a real kick in the guts for hurling supporters in the county, particularly those who travelled to Semple Stadium with high hopes.
After impressive victories over Clare and Cork in the last two rounds of the championship the Galway hurlers must take the next step this Sunday in Thurles (4pm) and put Waterford to the sword in the All-Ireland quarter-final.
Kilkenny minor hurlers are in unknown territory as they face Waterford in the All-Ireland minor hurling quarter-final in Walsh Park tomorrow (Saturday) evening at 7pm.
Kilkenny and Tipperary are both safely through to this year’s All-Ireland semi-finals, having won their respective provincial championships.
Twelve months ago most of the final round games of the National Hurling League were played out as mere challenge matches — Galway and Cork had already qualified for the spring showdown. The only games of any consequences were played by Limerick and Offaly who were both looking to avoid the relegation drop.
The Galway senior hurlers take their first step on the road to rehabilitation after their 18-point defeat to Tipperary when they face Waterford at Walsh Park at 2.30pm this Sunday in the last round of the NHL.
Kilkenny 3-16 NUI Galway 2-12