So there you have it. One week late, we have winners of the National Hurling League. Clare edged Waterford at the death in Thurles to capture the title.
However, the Déise don’t have time to lose much sleep over it, as their championship opener is just weeks away.
The race for Liam McCarthy is underway, and we look at what a busy weekend of action did for the Pundit Arena Hurling Power Rankings.
1. Clare (+1)
The Banner were second best for much of yesterday’s tie, but got over the line in the end thanks to a late late show by Tony Kelly. The 2013 Hurler of the Year has recovered from injury, and put in a barnstorming display at the ‘Home of Hurling’ with a staggering 1-5 from play.
He showed yesterday that on form, he can operate on a different level to any hurler in the country.
Capturing a national title will do Clare wonders. After two tolling years following their All-Ireland triumph, there is a pep back in the Banner step. With confidence high, they are a threat to the rest of the country.
2. Waterford (-1)
Waterford did everything yesterday, but win. However, there were plenty of positives to take from their loss.
Patrick Curran showed huge maturity leading the attack, following a disappointing performance in the drawn game, and tragedy during the week.
Austin Gleeson’s switch to centre-forward gave him a licence to attack, and he was too much for the Clare defence at times. His move forward also showed Derek McGrath’s appetite to change when things aren’t going well, and this bodes well ahead of the summer.
A loss is a loss, but yesterday will soon be forgotten if they overturn the result on June 5.
3. Kilkenny (No change)
4. Tipperary (No change)
5. Limerick (No change)
6. Cork (No change)
7. Dublin (No change)
8. Galway (No change)
9. Wexford (No change)
10. Westmeath (+1)
Westmeath are through to the quarter-final of the Leinster Championship, after a deserved win away to high-flying Kerry in Tralee.
The Lake County hammered Offaly last week, and backed it up on Saturday, with nine different scorers to accumulate 1-18 in wet conditions.
With qualification secured ahead of their final round robin game with Carlow next week, manager Michael Ryan may be tempted to rest several of his players, as there is no incentive to win the group with the first placed side facing Galway, and the runners-up with the easier task of Laois.
11. Kerry (-1)
Is the honeymoon period over for the Kingdom? Westmeath gave them a reality check on Saturday, and now Ciarán Carey must rally the troops ahead of what is essentially a knock-out tie with Offaly next week.
Next week is massive for Kerry hurling.
12. Laois (No change)
13. Offaly (+1)
The Faithful had to listen to a lot of critics during the week, as they licked their wounds after a hammering by Westmeath. However, with backs against the wall, they dug deep to secure a crucial win over Carlow.
Shane Dooley was the star of the show, scoring 1-10.
Win against Kerry next week, and they march onto the Leinster quarter-final. Lose, and their summer is over.
14. Carlow (-1)
Two games, two loss. Carlow are bottom of the pile. They must regroup against Westmeath next week in a bid to retain their Liam McCarthy status for 2017.