The Munster Hurling Championship starts with a bang this weekend, as Cork travel to Thurles to renew one of the great rivalries in Irish sport.
Ahead of four huge fixtures, we look at five players who can light up the grand-daddy of all provincial championships over the coming weeks.
Patrick Curran (Waterford)
There was a worry last year that the Déise lacked firepower to really punish teams. Patrick Curran’s introduction certainly helped to this end, but he has taken another step up in 2016. The 20 year-old scored 1-09 in the replay of the League final, as Waterford lost out at the death to Clare.
If Curran and Shane Bennett can continue to chip in with meaningful contributions on the scoreboard, the pressure will be lifted off the shoulders of Maurice Shanahan, and the Déise will be hard to beat.
John McGrath (Tipperary)
In last year’s All-Ireland semi-final, Tipperary amounted 3-16, with 3-09 coming from Séamus Callanan. Seven points from the other 14 players in a Championship match is not acceptable, and that won’t cut it at the level Tipperary are aiming for.
Throughout the League, the responsibility was shared. Noel McGrath and Jason Forde have been contributing, but John McGrath has really nailed down a forward’s berth for himself.
The Loughmore-Castleiney star is more than capable of being the country’s standout forward this year, and if they beat Cork at home on Sunday, things could play into his hands as the summer opens up.
Paul Haughney (Cork)
Paul Haughney is by no means a new addition to the Cork setup, and despite some impressive early-season showings in recent years, he has failed to nail down a consistent starting place for the Championship.
A work-horse in the middle of the park, Haughney is the engine for Midleton, and can hurt defences when running forward.
Whether Kieran Kingston will decide to play him or not is another question, but the manner in which several senior squad members were culled would suggest that he will have no problem shaking things up, and midfield is an area where the Rebels have been found wanting.
Bobby Duggan (Clare)
It is unclear if Bobby Duggan is in Davy Fitzgerald’s first team plans for the summer, having missed out on the League final, but he could not have done much more to merit inclusion.
He impressed in the Fitzgibbon Cup for NUIG, and led the way at times throughout the league. 10 points for Clarecastle in a championship win last weekend will give the management food for thought, and although he is still u21 this year, he could make a major impact on the Munster Championship.
Barry Nash (Limerick)
Nash may still be best remembered for getting the point that never was, as Limerick were eliminated from the All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship due to a hawkeye blunder in 2013.
However, he has continued to make serious inroads, and enters the championship as one of the key men for the Treaty.
Capturing man of the match in the All-Ireland u21 final last year, Nash was dangerous throughout the league, and was particularly impressive scoring 2-02 in the first half against Laois.
Limerick will be at a disadvantage in that the winner of Cork and Tipperary will have a competitive championship game under their belt by the time of the semi-final. However, if Nash continues his rise, then the Treaty could be a dark horse to reclaim the Munster crown they last won in 2013.