Last Saturday saw four sets of supporters go through a rollercoaster of emotions as both All-Ireland quarter-finals went down to the wire on a tension filled day of hurling in FBD Semple Stadium.
Eventually, Galway and Clare booked safe passage to next month’s All-Ireland semi-finals, but not without coming through difficult moments in their respective games with Cork and Wexford.
While it was an entertaining afternoon for hurling supporters across the country due to the tight nature of each encounter, the quality on display was somewhat underwhelming for this stage of the season.
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That was certainly the opinion of former Kilkenny player Eoin Larkin, as he reflected on crucial victories for Henry Shefflin and Brian Lohan.
Speaking to KCLR’s Full Time, the James Stephens clubman began by shedding some light on how disappointed Cork will be with their one-point defeat to the Tribesmen.
He said: “I thought it was a poor game. Cork shot themselves in the foot with the wide balls they had and their wastefulness in possession.
“This has been the Cork we’ve known in the last few years. They’ve either been very good or very average and they were very average at the weekend.
“Cork missed three or four frees earlier in the game that Patrick Horgan definitely would have put over the bar.
“He may not be fit enough to last the full length of the game but they don’t have enough to be leaving a player of his quality on the bench. I think that decision will be nagging at Kieran Kingston for the next while because I think there would have been a different outcome.”
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Larkin was not impressed with Galway’s performance despite the positive result.
“Galway weren’t much better but they just had enough to get over the line,” he said.
“The victory should stand to them but he (Henry Shefflin) would definitely be disappointed with the level of performance. He’ll be telling the players that the performance won’t be good enough to win a semi-final.
“Having said that, the quarter-final was about getting over the line. They’re back in Croke Park and they’ll train hard over the next few weeks in preparation for the Limerick game.”
The eight-time All-Ireland winner also reviewed Clare’s clash with Wexford.
“There’s so much on the line in an All-Ireland quarter-final and maybe that’s why both games were poor.
“Brian Lohan will be absolutely thrilled though considering they didn’t get anywhere near the heights that they reached in the Munster final. It’s the ultimate tonic for Clare and while Kilkenny will be very tough, it’s going to be very difficult for Kilkenny.
“Wexford, on the other hand, will be absolutely devastated. They had a healthy lead with less than ten minutes remaining and they couldn’t hold on. They’ll be distraught and will know that it is a huge opportunity missed.”