The All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship quarter-finals are just around the corner with Galway taking on Cork and Clare facing Wexford on Saturday afternoon in Thurles.
Victory at FBD Semple Stadium will secure a place in an All-Ireland semi-final next month as the summer of hurling reaches its crescendo.
As hurling looks ahead to what promises to be a memorable day on Saturday, Scoreline spoke to Kilkenny legend Eddie Brennan about where Galway, Clare and Cork find themselves ahead of a defining weekend.
The Graigue Ballycallan clubman also explained what it will take for Limerick to be dethroned this year.
The eight-time All-Ireland winner began by reflecting on a disappointing Leinster final display from Galway.
He said: “I think the performance in the Leinster final would have frustrated Henry Shefflin.
“As a manager, you are powerless in the middle of the game. It’s very hard to shake lads up and they were very flat. It’s the manager’s job to now find out why they were so poor and how to improve it.”
See also: ‘We’re not at the level of the Munster finalists’ – Kilkenny legend Eddie Brennan on Kilkenny’s deficiencies ahead of All-Ireland semi-final
He also described Clare as “the closest challengers to Limerick” following their Munster final display against their neighbours.
Brennan explained: “It looks like Clare are the closest challengers to Limerick since 2019.
“The little things in that game were the key. Tony Kelly missed some frees which proved crucial.
“Those small margins are critical at the top and that’s what they will have to look at going forward but they are in a strong position at the moment.”
See also: Kilkenny GAA, Kilkenny Camogie combine for county Poc Fada at Gowran Park
The former Laois manager went on to state that Cork will be excited about the prospect of meeting Limerick in a potential semi-final but that every county should be wary of the threat that the Treaty County pose.
“Cork have been there or thereabouts with Limerick over the last few years and I think they’ll want to have a cut at Limerick.
“Teams have to be able to see the job out against Limerick and Cork have not proved that they are able to do that. The beauty of hurling is that anything can happen but while teams have moved closer to them they haven’t been able to make that jump.
“Limerick are in a good place. It appears as though it is going to take an awful lot to stop them.
“You’re going to have to score a goal or two or get a slice of luck to get the better of them. It’s in their own hands though. If their heads are right and they stay training with intensity and with the right attitude they won’t be stopped.”
You can listen back to the full interview on Scoreline Extra here.