By Kevin Regan
Euro 2016 is finally here! The excitement and anticipation has been growing week by week as the competition edges closer to commencing, but at long last it’s upon us!
But what teams would the participating countries be if they were Inter County Hurling sides?!
One of the teams who have no hope of winning the tournament. Like Carlow, Hungary are one of the back markers and although the occasional upset occurs, they will not win top honors any time soon
An easy comparison to make as both teams are full of young talented players. Like Clare, Belgium are expected to go far in this years tournament but will have a few serious hurdles to jump along the way.
Two teams with unbelievable tradition who are now just a shadow of the sides they used to be. Like Cork, Italy have had their critics and many feel that they might not get out of the group which contains ourselves, Sweden and Belgium.
A next to near perfect comparison! Both sides are full of young talent, but unfortunately they are also hyped up to the last and more often than not they don’t deliver on the big stage when it matters the most!
You never quite know what you are going to get from either of these two teams! Both are always capable of claiming top honors, however performances are as predictable as the Irish weather. And Portugal happen to have their own Joe Canning by the name of Cristiano Ronaldo!
Kerry- Northern Ireland
Both of these sides have recently joined the big guns on the top tier. Both sides also play with an element of freedom which is very refreshing to see, but ultimately it’s all about moral victories and an odd upset.
The reigning World Cup champions would have to be Kilkenny! A team full of stars that are always in the mix for top honors and more often than not come out on top.
Albania pulled off a shock result during qualification for the tournament when they defeated Portugal. Laois too are capable of the occasional upset, like the 2015 win over Offaly but at the moment they don’t look like making much more progress just like Albania.
There are some class players on both these teams, there’s no doubt about that. However its unlikely that either team will be champions in the heel of the hunt.
Offaly- Republic of Ireland
There have been great times for both teams in the past but the array of talent isn’t what it once was.
The faithful county have answered a lot of critics this year though like Ireland did against Germany in qualification, so hopes are still high in both camps.
Here are two definite contenders who are likely to go the distance in their respective competitions. Both sides are also the second favourites to take top honors and many punters will back them to do just that.
Here are two teams who really have taken things up a notch in the past few years. The array of young talent which both squads possess is outrageous and many people will feel that there time to shine is now.
Brendan Murtagh is to Westmeath, what Robert Lewandowski is to Poland. Two players who definitely know how to find the back of the net! Both squads also have a few other richly talented players.
Outsiders who will not win outright honors, but possess two of the best players in their respective games. Conor McDonald is pretty much the Gareth Bale of Wexford Hurling and both players will soon suffer with chronic back pain from carrying the rest of the team!