Hurling review: He’s the boss, he’s a pip…

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IT WAS NOT a champagne season, it must be said. And while the final looked to be genuinely in the balance for 45 minutes or so, the nature of Kilkenny’s late dominance meant that even Galway’s injury-time goal would not be enough to inject some excitement.

Kilkenny may not be as outwardly overjoyed about their 36th All-Ireland but outsiders have to realise that being top dogs – or rather, Top Cats – is the new normal on Noreside. The team’s identity is to be All-Ireland champions; anything other is a source of tragedy (see the loss of the 2010 final, and the back-door travails of 2013).

In the grand scheme of recent years, this Kilkenny team are not the greatest – but one of the beauties of our Elo model is that we can compare the sides with their predecessors. The Cats finish the year with an Elo rating of 2280, slightly higher than their final outcome last year (2267) or 2011 (2220). Only the winners of 2012 – again, over Galway – had a higher rating at the end of a recent season (2306 – which would have been higher had Galway not pushed them to a replay).

So, in short, this Kilkenny side might not be the greatest of recent years – but in the grand scheme of things, they’re no pushovers either. And they have the medals to prove it.

Galway end the year in third, with Waterford and Cork bringing up the top five. Tipperary’s narrow semi-final defeat sees them hang onto second place over the winter. It’s a placing they would rather forget.

The changes listed below compare the side’s rating to the end of last season.

Hurling rankings
(end of 2015 season)
1 Kilkenny 2280
2 Tipperary 2090
3 (+2) Galway 2039
4 (+4) Waterford 1977
5 (-2) Cork 1910
6 (+1) Dublin 1853
7 (-3) Limerick 1833
8 (-2) Clare 1810
9 Wexford 1683
10 (+3) Kerry 1534
11 (-1) Offaly 1531
12 (-1) Laois 1499
13 (+3) Westmeath 1334
14 Carlow 1311
15 (-3) Antrim 1298
16 (+2) Kildare 1286
17 (-2) Down 1267
18 (-1) Meath 1199
19 Derry 1184
20 (+1) London 1097
21 (+4) Roscommon 1080
22 (-2) Wicklow 1061
23 (+4) Armagh 988
24 (+2) Tyrone 922
25 (-2) Donegal 894
26 (-4) Mayo 863
27 (-3) Fingal 768
28 (+2) Monaghan 743
29 (+2) Longford 610
30 (-1) Fermanagh 609
31 (-3) Louth 575
32 Warwicks 522
33 (+1) Leitrim 367
34 (-1) Sligo 364
35 Lancashire 173

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