There was much consternation among Waterford hurling fans last Sunday after suffering a resounding defeat against Clare.
Clare seem to be a bogey team for Waterford, where we have had a poor record in the past decade.
Waterford may have beaten them handsomely in 2008, but now that the older stars have retired, their remain enough new recruits with the fire in the belly and play that intense brand of hurling. It was not a rough game compared to other encounters so that is no excuse, nor is the referee.
Apart from a few players like John Mullane, goalie Clinton Hennessey and Eoin McGrath most performed below their potential and the result could not be disputed.
Missing four players is some mitigation for the poor performance, but even so there seemed to be something missing.
Is it the end of an era to this brilliant decade of Waterford hurling that has seen League and Munster Finals as well as wins, All Ireland hurling semi finals but not final.
The fans traveled in large numbers to Limerick and were very disappointed. They felt they deserved more.
The back door is an option and a likely tie against Antrim in the play offs for the Championship.
If Waterford had won, there would have been a tough encounter against Limerick, last year’s Munster and All Ireland Finalists, the winner then would play Cork or Tipperary.
So three hard games before the Championship, two of these are now avoided say the optimists.
The fans will be looking for a better game out of Waterford next time around. Then again the team has given great service over the past few years and have provided much joy and excitement in the county.
Some may be getting on a little in years, but there is still great heart there and next time out, it will be better.
The wisdom of a pre match trip to Portugal for hot weather training did not work,
One player in another county suggested that an earlier time in the season may have been better, now that they are out of Munster, this is going to happen anyway as the next game could be in July.
Let us not forget the good times, but we would certainly like to put last Sunday behind us.
Some say Thurles is a more lucky venue than Limerick.
The great memories of the Deise side last season are not quickly forgotten and hopefully some of that magic can be captured for the next round and confound the critics.