So that’s a wrap. Tipperary are champions and the chasing pack have a long few months ahead.
To close out the Pundit Arena Hurling Power Rankings, that have been running all season, we take a look at how each team is shaping up as they face into the winter.
There will be more in-depth analysis of each county over the coming weeks, as we try to figure out who can win the Liam MacCarthy Cup in 2017.
1. Tipperary (no change)
Champions once again. Just like in 2010, Tipp look set up to dominate the hurling landscape for years to come. Will that happen this time around? Who knows…
With young players such as John McGrath, Michael Breen and Seamus Kennedy leading the line for the Premier, and a minor team fresh from an All-Ireland triumph moving up the ranks, these are exciting times for Tipperary.
2. Kilkenny (no change)
Where to now for Brian Cody and the Cats? Beaten by a far superior team, it showed that Kilkenny do not have the strength to match the country’s best teams, fighting fire with fire. Having abandoned their defensive set-up that helped them to the final, the Cats were picked apart.
There is hope for Kilkenny, but without an U-21 Leinster title since 2012 there are certainly question marks.
2017 will be interesting.
3. Waterford (no change)
The Déise are in relatively good shape, after another year of progress. An U-21 title this Saturday will fill them with confidence that they can become the first Waterford side to reach hurling’s promised land since 1959.
They have some of the best young players in the country, a forward-thinking manager who can mix it with the best and a real opportunity in the coming years.
4. Galway (no change)
Real question marks hang over Galway. They are comfortably third/fourth in the pecking order, but there is little to suggest that they can finally make the breakthrough.
They fell short against Kilkenny in the Leinster final, before giving it everything against a somewhat misfiring Tipperary side in the semi-final.
It would appear that the Tribesmen have reached a glass ceiling.
5. Clare (no change)
The Banner are more than capable of challenging the established order. Doubt remains whether Davy Fitzgerald will remain as manager.
This year, for the first time since 2013, Clare gave a good account of themselves. The League triumph acts as a timely reminder what they are capable of. Don’t write them off.
6. Wexford (no change)
With promising underage talent coming through, the Yellowbellies are on the up. In Lee Chin and Conor McDonald, they boast two of the strongest hurlers in the country.
However, they came up badly short against Waterford in the semi-final, in a tie that was over as soon as it started. They were well beaten by Dublin in Leinster, and must take a scalp in the province next season for more progress.
7. Cork (no change)
A lot has been said about the Rebels. A lot more will be said throughout the winter.
It is not long ago that these players were challenging for All-Ireland honours. With Páirc Uí Chaoimh re-opening next summer and Tipperary and Limerick due to honour away commitments, the stage could be set for the Rebels to make a statement.
8. Limerick (no change)
2016 was a disastrous season for the 2013 Munster champions, as tame defeats at the hands of Tipperary and Clare left the Treaty in the doldrums.
However, scores of underage talent coming through suggest the future is bright. First things first; they need to find the right man for the vacant managerial position.
9. Dublin (no change)
The Metropolitans made an early exit from the Championship, but are a Division 1 side with massive talent at their disposal. On their day, the Dubs are capable of mixing it with the very best.
A kind draw in Leinster next season could give them momentum. With another Leinster U-21 title in the bag, there is no shortage of talent coming through.
10. Offaly (no change)
A promising League campaign was followed by a decent run in the Leinster Championship, and the Faithful have re-established themselves as the province’s fifth best side. However, isolated results do little for the future, and a lot of work needs to be done for Offaly hurling.
11. Westmeath (no change)
The highlight of the year was undoubtedly the U-21 victory over Kilkenny. Westmeath hurling is moving in the right direction, long may it continue.
12. Laois (no change)
It was a year of regression for the O’Moore County, as the progress under Cheddar Plunkett hit a speed-bump.
Perhaps they are more suited to playing in the Leinster round-robin rather than being inserted straight into the quarter-final.
13. Kerry (no change)
The goal at the start of the year was to retain their Liam MacCarthy status, and that was achieved. While they will be disappointed not to have done more, it was a successful year for the Kingdom.
14. Carlow (no change)
Relegated, and replaced by Meath for 2017, it was a poor year for Carlow hurling.