One interesting statistic from the table which could lead to a working hypothesis is the fact that 5 out of the last 7 Munster hurling winners have lost their subsequent semi-finals. In almost all of these cases, the Munster win was from a team who hadn’t won Munster in a number of years. For example, the 2008 Munster winners, Tipperary won their previous Munster title in 2001. There was a gap of 3 years between Waterford’s win in 2010 and their previous win. When Limerick won in 2013 it was their first Munster win in over 17 years while Cork’s win this year was their first in 8 years. In contrast, in Leinster, Kilkenny won 7 in a row between 2005 and 2011 and never lost their subsequent match that followed. When Dublin won the Leinster title in 2013 for the first time in 52 years they also lost their next match in the semi-final with Cork.
It’s only a hypothesis and there are a number of examples which run counter to it (Cork in 2000, Galway in 2012, Tipperary in 2012) but perhaps the effort that is put in and elation in winning a provincial title (particularly in the ultra-competitive Munster championship) for the first time in a number of years leave teams flat for the next match. This may be exacerbated by the long wait for that match. So perhaps a shorter time period between matches may work but only in tempering the joy of a provincial title and focusing minds on the next task quicker.