IT'S been a long time coming but the Clare hurling team received a warm welcome from one of their own at a special reception for the All-Ireland winning champions at Aras an Uachtarain.
The last time they had met was when the Liam MacCarthy Cup was being held aloft with triumph.
Five months down the line, President Michael D Higgins appeared to be relishing the prospect of sitting down for a good chat with legendary Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald, captain Pat Donnellan and hat-trick hero Shane O'Donnell.
With the excitement of the eight-goal thriller still vivid in the memory, the reception was no doubt a labour of love for the President who spent his formative years in Newmarket-on-Fergus and who has previously said he found it difficult to remain neutral during the final against Cork.
"What a game of hurling. I mean the whole thing was incredible. I think the very first day, if Clare had gone down, there would have been an injustice," he said.
He also expressed his admiration for goal hero O'Donnell. "And the young fella... that the mother says only scores goals. It's the points I'd be worried about. They have changed the game."