Seamus Harnedy believes there are seven or eight teams who can challenge for this year's All-Ireland SHC.
The Cork ace was impressed by Kilkenny as they stormed to league glory but reckons the Cats might not have it all their own way come summertime and the race for the Liam MacCarthy Cup:
"On any given day against Kilkenny, you know what's coming, their number one is work rate, their desire to win back the ball is absolutely second to none," the Imokilly clubman told The Irish Examiner. "It's something other counties are always trying to emulate, and that's up to us, it's something to emulate. We've reached that level a couple of times, but we just have to do it more consistently.
"It's the most competitive intercounty scene I can remember for a few years - there's definitely seven or eight teams that can challenge for top honours this year.
"Kilkenny being so strong is good for hurling - they were never gone away, really, but they're back as strong as ever now. You could see that by the strength of their team last Sunday. They'll be around for a long time yet, but so are quite a few other sides."