Shane Dowling’s Column: John Kiely and Pat Ryan have time to hit or twist ahead of Limerick-Cork showdown

And just like that, the round-robin phase of the Championship will end on Sunday night.

Since the beginning of 2018, I have been a fan of this format and have really enjoyed playing it. There may be a certain bias towards that on my part, as we did win the All-Ireland at the end of that first season, but it was a hurling bonanza and it has picked up where it left off after the pandemic cut short the 2020 and ’21 seasons.

But, while I love the structure, the free-for-all phase goes by in a blur; it was over too fast. I think it should be extended a bit more.

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Last weekend was sensational and I have no doubt that we will have more of the same, but it will all be over in a jiffy.

And it will probably all be over for one of Limerick and Cork on Sunday night too.

I predicted from the start that Cork would not make it out of Munster and if they give Diarmuid Byrnes or Kyle Hayes the same freedom they gave Diarmuid Ryan at Ennis last Sunday, they can forget about it.

Again, back to the perennial question about Cork: can they get their work rate up to the required levels? I didn’t see that against Clare, they couldn’t force enough turnovers and why should we expect them to suddenly turn it on this weekend?