WELL, we didn’t learn too much last weekend with the postponements and we are still in the dark, and will remain so until next weekend, on how things will pan out in both divisions of the NHL.
One thing was confirmed, however, Limerick more than justified their status as the best team in the country even if Cork were the only team to take maximum points off them.
Briefly reflecting on that game in the Gaelic Grounds, it was a fine achievement by John Meyler’s team and something that they should build on.
It was a pity that last Sunday’s encounter with Tipperary had to go by the board because, as a result of that win over Limerick, a nice little bit of momentum would have accompanied the team and supporters for the visit of the Premier County.
But the weather gods decreed otherwise and it’s now a case of waiting until next weekend to see how it will all pan out.
And it’s an even more intriguing situation than it was before Limerick and Clare couldn’t be separated in Cusack Park and the other two games were postponed.
You now have the situation of Limerick being able to sit back and relax this weekend in the knowledge that no matter what happens elsewhere they are in the quarter-finals.
But for the rest, Clare, Wexford, Kilkenny, Cork and Tipp, there is still everything to play for.
Clare, of course, have completed their set of group games as well and are on five points in second place on the table currently but depending on how results go between Cork and Tipp and Kilkenny and Wexford, they could still miss out for a quarter-final spot.
Two draws in those games, highly unlikely but possible, could see Clare miss out.
A win for Wexford over Kilkenny or vice versa would put them on six points and safely into the last eight.
A win for Cork over Tipp and they are safe too while a Tipp win would put them on four points and it could all come down then to points difference.
Tipp, of course, are the team in the most precarious position with just the one win from four games and anything less than a win and they won’t be hurling competitively again until May 12th.
Limerick and Clare will be quite happy with how it eventually ended in Cusack Park, Limerick got something from the match, probably more than Clare as they were the away team while Clare will be happy that they stayed unbeaten in their home fortress.
Limerick have home advantage when the sides clash in the championship and nobody needs telling the importance of the home venue in what is surely going to be even a more cut-throat championship than last season.
Clare’s two games at home are against Cork and Tipp and going into the bearpit that Cusack Park will be on those occasions represents a gargantuan challenge for both.
If Cusack Park is going to be an intimidating place, then imagine what Walsh Park will be for Waterford’s home games against Clare and Limerick.
These will be the first championship games in the venue for many a long day but going back the years we all know what the place is like.
You go back those years, Cork in ‘67 and ‘71 for instance when they were All-Ireland champions and they came crashing down in Walsh Park on both occasions.
It is only right and fitting that Waterford have been given the right to stage their two championship games at home, something that they didn’t happen last season.
Fair enough, thousands will have to watch the games on TV because of the restricted attendance which will be only 11 or 12, 000 but the atmosphere in that old ground on those two days will surely be something to behold.
Both Clare and Limerick will want to win their two home games because getting anything from Walsh Park will be very, very difficult.
Waterford, now with two games at home, adds considerably to the intrigue that will surround this Munster championship.
At first we were of the opinion that the status quo of the provincial championships should have prevailed, a case of why fix it if not broke.
But given the success of the new venture last season and what now lies in store in May and June, it was a great decision