The hurling landscape has changed dramatically since the league ended. Check out our latest rankings (1-35)...
1. TIPPERARY (up 8)
Reanimated Tipp have been by far and away the best team in the hurling championship to date, roaring to victory in all three of their Munster SHC games and assuring themselves of a place in the All-Ireland series. The fruits of Liam Sheedy’s second coming have been nothing short of sensational so far. Definitely the team to beat in the race for the Liam MacCarthy Cup.
2. LIMERICK (down 1)
The All-Ireland and league holders have done very little wrong over the past twelve months. Suffered a slip in their championship opener against Cork but bounced back in style by beating Waterford. Huge games coming up against Clare and Tipp.
3. CORK (up 1)
The victory away to Limerick on May 19th showed us what the reigning Munster hurling champions are all about. Weren’t ready for Tipperary in the first round but the Rebels should prove too strong for struggling Waterford and Clare in their next two outings.
4. KILKENNY (up 4)
The Cats have won both of their outings so far in Leinster, and have shown reasonably well, although they still have their two toughest assignments awaiting – at home to Galway this weekend and away to Wexford in nine days’ time.
5. WEXFORD (up 2)
The Model County came from nowhere to snatch a draw in Salthill last time out, having also drawn their opening provincial fixture against Kilkenny. Davy Fitzgerald’s men still have two home games to come. They can out themselves in a good position by defeating Carlow this weekend and then they’ll meet neighbours Kilkenny.
6. DUBLIN (down 1)
Drew with Wexford, lost to Kilkenny and beat Carlow. The Dubs have a massive meeting with Galway coming up at Parnell Park on June 15th. Win that and they are in the All-Ireland series.
7. GALWAY (down 4)
Without Joe Canning on board, the Tribesmen have failed to impress so far. They looked to be cruising to victory against Wexford but completely lost their way in the second half and – with crunch away games coming over the next two weekends against Kilkenny and Dublin – Galway are under pressure to retain the Bob O’Keeffe Cup.
8. CLARE (down 2)
The wheels came off the Banner wagon big time against Tipperary, although in fairness the Premier County have been making everybody look pretty ordinary. Managed to edge out Waterford but have it all to do now as their next two games are against Limerick (away) and Cork (at home).
9. WATERFORD (down 7)
The championship has been an unmitigated disaster for Na Deise, who are already out of contention despite still having an outstanding fixture against Cork this weekend. Successive defeats to Clare, Tipperary and Limerick mean that the run to the league final has become a distant memory and the promise of a long summer was an empty one.
10. LAOIS (no change)
Have won both their Joe McDonagh Cup outings so far and look like the team to beat in the second tier. A preliminary All-Ireland SHC quarter-final is within reach for Eddie Brennan’s charges, who have forthcoming fixtures against Kerry and Westmeath.
11. CARLOW (no change)
The Leinster championship has proven to be a bridge too high for Colm Bonnar’s men, who produced a decent performance against Galway in Salthill, having drawn with the Tribesmen during the league.
12. ANTRIM (up 3)
The Glensmen have arrested their recent slide by scoring excellent championship wins over Kerry and Offaly and, despite having lost to Laois, can qualify for the Joe McDonagh Cup final if they defeat Westmeath in Dunloy on Saturday.
13. WESTMEATH (down 1)
The Lake County are still in contention in the second-tier championship. Having smashed Offaly, they were edged out by Kerry but the next two weekends are due to tell a tale when they travel to Antrim and Laois.
14. KERRY (down 1)
The Kingdom grabbed themselves a championship lifeline when beating Westmeath in Mullingar last weekend. Now can they kick on in their remaining fixtures, both of which are in Tralee, against Laois and then Offaly?
15. MEATH (up 1)
The Royals are the only team to come through the group stage of the Christy Ring Cup with a 100% record, having beaten London, Kildare and Roscommon to set up a semi-final date with Derry.
16. DERRY (up 2)
The Oak Leafers slipped up in their final Group One outing against Wicklow, having already qualified for the last four. That defeat saw them relinquish top place to Down on scoring averages, which set them on a semi-final collision course with Meath instead of Roscommon.
17. OFFALY (down 3)
Hard to believe the Faithful County have fallen even further since the league ended! But three defeats to Laois, Westmeath and Antrim mean they have to at least beat Kerry in their fourth and final Joe McDonagh Cup outing to have any chance of avoiding a promotion / relegation decider that could see them demoted to the third tier.
18. DOWN (up 2)
Despite losing to Derry, the Ardsmen pipped their neighbours to top place in Group A and now meet Roscommon for a place in the Christy Ring Cup final.
19. ROSCOMMON (up 2)
Having secured promotion during the league, the Rossies won two of their three group games in the Christy Ring Cup and that’s enough to book a semi-final meeting with Down this weekend.
20. WICKLOW (down 3)
Despite a heroic away victory over Derry in the third round, the Garden County lucklessly missed out on a place in the business end of the Christy Ring Cup by virtue of score difference.
21. KILDARE (down 2)
Put it up to Roscommon in the first round and beat London in the third tier but their summer is over.
22. SLIGO (up 8)
The Yeats men have caught the eye in the Nicky Rackard Cup, going through their group unbeaten to secure a semi-final date with Warwickshire.
23. ARMAGH (no change)
The unbeaten Orchard County beat Monaghan and Longford and drew with Warwickshire to earn a Rackard Cup semi-final clash with Tyrone of all teams!
24. WARWICKSHIRE (up 2)
Unbeaten in their group, the Exiles drew two of their outings and won one to set up a semi-final against Sligo. Will fancy their chances of progressing to the decider.
25. LONDON (no change)
Lost all three of their group games in the Christy Ring Cup but will feel they should have beaten Kildare in Ruislip. Will take on Donegal in a relegation decider at Crossmaglen this weekend.
26. TYRONE (down 2)
Excellent victories over Mayo and Louth have propelled the Red Hands into a mouth-watering Nicky Rackard Cup semi-final against neighbours and arch rivals Armagh.
27. MAYO (down 5)
Decidedly unlucky to be edged out of the semi-finals of the Nicky Rackard Cup, a damaging draw with Sligo last weekend putting an end to their summer.
28. DONEGAL (down 1)
The Tir Chonail men struggled in the group stage of the championship, losing their three games by an average of more than ten points, but they have a chance to preserve their third-tier status in the play-off final against London.
29. LONGFORD (no change)
Enjoyed a good victory over Monaghan in the Nicky Rackard but missed out on the last four.
30. MONAGHAN (down 2)
A summer to forget for the Farney men, who are up against neighbours Louth in the fourth-tier relegation final.
31. LOUTH (no change)
Have struggled to make an impact under new manager Paul McCormack and will be relegated back to the Lory Meagher Cup unless they can pull off a big win over Monaghan.
32. FERMANAGH (up 1)
Have won both their Lory Meagher Cup outings to date and are set for a place in the final.
33. LANCASHIRE (down 1)
Beat Leitrim but lost to Fermanagh. Should overcome Cavan and qualify for a rematch with the Ernemen in the decider.
34. LEITRIM (up 1)
Ran Lancashire close and enjoyed a wonderful win over Cavan. Will entertain table toppers Fermanagh this weekend.
35. CAVAN (down 1)
Look set for the wooden spoon in the fifth-tier championship, unless they can stun Lancashire in a couple of days’ time.
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