Power: Others have progressed more than Cats
This year's All-Ireland title is now beyond Kilkenny, according to Richie Power.
As they sift through the rubble of last Saturday's defeat to Wexford in Wexford Park, few are giving Kilkennny any hope of salvaging something from what was just a fourth Leinster Championship defeat in Brian Cody's 19 seasons in charge.
Power falls into the category of observers who don't see the season ending as it did eight times during his playing career - with a Kilkenny man lifting the Liam MacCarthy Cup.
"I hate saying it but I think it is," Power stressed.
"They're still the second best team in the country going back on last year but I just think that other teams have progressed more than Kilkenny have, that's not to say, if they can get a good run in the Qualifiers anything is possible.
"I hate saying it obviously but I just think the way results have gone, it's all pointing in the direction of a Galway or a Waterford. I suppose Kilkenny gone from Leinster, Galway will be smiling. Waterford and Cork this weekend, it'll be the same in Munster with Tipperary gone, if they can win a Munster or Leinster title they're only 70 minutes from an All-Ireland.
"After the League final I put up Galway as my fancy for the All-Ireland and my feelings haven't changed."
Meanwhile, Mayo midfielder Tom Parsons says Mayo won't be blasé about their failure to win Connacht for a second successive year.
"For us as players, and as Mayo people, a Connacht title means an awful lot to us," he confirmed. "We really were looking to win a Connacht title first and foremost before thinking about any All-Ireland series.
"We find ourselves in a position now where we might have to play five or six games to get to the later stages of the competition. It's not really much different to the quantity of games if we drew with Galway.
"It's still the same challenge. If we are to get to the knock-out stages we're still going to have to play the top teams of this world to get to an All-Ireland final or even contend for one."
Mayo will now enter the same side of the qualifier draw as the loser of this Saturday's Kildare/Meath clash and either Donegal or Tyrone.
"This is a challenge," Parsons admitted.
"Last year when we lost to Galway we probably did have to question ourselves a bit more because we didn't show that fight.
"We certainly showed a fight and an edge on Sunday. We just didn't get the result. It's no more a challenge than has been there before for us and it's something we won't shy away from."