The summer solstice has come and gone. By the time the sun had set on the year's longest day, the hurling public gained much-needed clarity on how the championship might play out. It's clear the more things change, the more things stay the same.
I was someone who naively thought hurling might be entering an age of parity. Kilkenny were ageing; JJ was gone. Tipp would inevitably be jaded after bottling last year's All-Ireland. The slow gains of Laois and Wexford were ready to make Leinster the most competitive provincial championship.
Wrong on all counts. Essentially, we have two megapowers (Tipp and Kilkenny), two wannabe contenders (Galway, Waterford) and Clare, who could either implode majestically or catch fire.
Once Tipp settled in Limerick, it was clear they had adapted to life without Noel McGrath. Down in Nowlan Park, fears Wexford might be rattled by the Jack Guiney affair seemed allayed when they scored within the first 20 seconds. They then managed to implode. One wonders if Brian Cody had hoped for a sterner test from Wexford. He'll learn a lot more about Joey Holden at number 3 in the Leinster final.