All-Ireland champions Clare launched their NHL challenge with a narrow 1-16 to 0-18 win over Kilkenny in a Cusack Park thriller.
Colin Ryan was the Banner hero, finishing with a 1-9 tally, including a first-half goal. They were level at 1-8 to 0-11 at the interval, and Kilkenny, with Henry Shefflin their chief finisher, eased ahead in the closing stages.
But late points from Cathal O'Connell, Conor McGrath and Ryan sealed the win for Davy Fitzgerald's side.
Galway made an impressive winning start t to the campaign, beating Dublin by 0-28 to 1-12 at Pearse Stadium.
Four points each from Conor Cooney and debutant Cathal Mannion helped the Tribesmen to a 0-16 to 0-6 interval lead, and Dublin suffered a blow when Conal Keaney was sent off on a second yellow card.
Substitute Sean McGrath pulled back a goal, but the home side, with Cooney and Niall Healy hitting the target frequently, ran out comfortable winners.