Hurling's contenders already showing off impressive attacking battalions
HAVING being dominated by the new and strange theme of defensive pre-eminence, the narrative of this hurling summer has sharply turned into which of Liam MacCarthy's suitors is packing the most heat.
First, Galway exploded in Tullamore and Dublin were disfigured by their shrapnel.
And then, within hours of one another last Sunday week, Tipperary and Kilkenny revealed their equally awesome - if stylistically different - attacking charms.
Kilkenny blitzed Wexford for 5-25 in Nowlan Park, with both Richie Power and Colin Fennelly out injured. Tipp nonchalantly put 4-23 on Limerick in the Gaelic Grounds, as both Noel McGrath and Lar Corbett looked on from the stands.
"They could end up playing another five or six forwards the next day and they would be as good as any," says Jason Flynn of Galway's Leinster final opponents, Kilkenny.
"We just have to keep it down hopefully and kick on."
A sentiment equally applicable to Galway.
If Cathal Mannion's brilliant hat-trick against Dublin may still be arguably the individual performance of the 2015 All-Ireland hurling championship so far, Flynn's reverse overhead pass to Aidan Harte in the same game has legitimate designs on being its most flamboyant/inventive moment.
"You'd be hoping for a good start again, stay in the game and keep working hard," Flynn says.
"Can Kilkenny get a run on you, and if they do you have to be composed, and even if you do get a run on Kilkenny you have to build on that.
"You can't just stay on your laurels and not do anything about it.
"You have to keep going. You have to think about that as well. If we do get a lead on them we have to keep going and vice versa."
This, it seems, is very much an 'on' year for Galway and as such, they are potential fatal opposition for anyone.
Yet, as Flynn points out, they lost only to the best last year, even if the story of their summer was one largely coloured by failure, both in Leinster - where they lost a replay to Kilkenny - and the All-Ireland series, where they collapsed against Tipp.
"They played out a classic here in Croke Park in the final so that was a sign that we weren't a million miles away from it," he concluded.