IT'S probably too easy an answer to put the disparity in quality between the teams in Thurles yesterday down as further evidence of the corrosive effects of a spring spent in Division 1B of the hurling league.
Eamon O'Shea felt it was a factor. Anthony Daly was less moved.
As Anthony Daly put it yesterday, "we've only been out of Division 1 for six matches".
"We played Limerick twice," he said of their spring programme, refusing to reach for the handy excuse.
"Limerick are as good as what's out there. Limerick will put it up to them in the Championship. Watch that space, for sure. They will.
"Because they'll come out and fight and they'll go to the ball. We let them go to the ball today.
"Whether fellas somewhere mentally relaxed in the back of their minds after getting promotion... and a lot of talk about a free match.
"Maybe we were all guilty of that. But I thought a free match, we could come and have a real go.
"But we didn't seem to have that go. But it's back to the drawing board.
"There were a few questions raised about the team and the performance. We'll drive on anyway. That's all we can do now."
For what it's worth, O'Shea reckoned a bigger top-flight was paramount, not just for the teams vying to get into it... but for the game of hurling in general.
"Hurling is a fantastic game and the more chances to have good teams play against each other the better," he argued.
"I think the more games we have the better – it's a difficult market out there with every other sport and I feel counties that aren't in the top three or four need more games against top teams."
O'Shea can plan now for another meeting with Kilkenny in two Sundays' time whereas Daly has to contend with clubs now for his players' time before the real stuff begins.
Was yesterday's performance a worry though, given that Dublin have no more competitive matches prior to their June 8 Leinster SHC opener with Wexford in Wexford Park and therefore, little chance to wash that sour taste from their mouths?
"Ah, of course it is. Lookit, we have to take the ups and downs and you know ... we were delighted two weeks ago here. It's a bit of a kick now there.
"The only thing is ... we knew we would be going down to Wexford anyway on the eighth of June and that's the target day for the Championship. The league has been fairly okay for us but to finish like that now...
"We seemed to be right and I thought we were going to put up a big performance but ... I don't know whether we did too much training in the last 10 days or whatever but we had to drive on as well."