Kilkenny served notice of their All-Ireland intentions when they hammered Cork in Sunday’s National Hurling League final at Semple Stadium.
Brian Cody’s team dominated the match from start to finish as they racked up an impressive 3-21 to 0-16 win.
The Cats are red hot favourites to retain their McCarthy Cup crown this summer but boss Cody maintained a level head afterwards.
He said: “It was a good performance. I’m not trying to underplay it or overplay it, we went out and had a huge challenge.
“Cork were fancied by many people, understandably so, and the last day we played them in the league they were better than us.
“I’m very happy with the way the game went, to be honest with you.”
Victory did come at a cost for Kilkenny as midfielder Michael Fennelly was stretchered off with an ankle injury and full-back JJ Delaney went off with a dead leg.
Cork had little or no answer to the powerful Kilkenny performance as their recent resurgence under new boss Jimmy Barry Murphy came to an abrupt end.
“It is a reality check,” Barry Murphy afterwards. “I’ve been on the receiving end of Kilkenny before but it is just very disappointing to be beaten by so much.
“I am disappointed for the team and the supporters. We were always going to get knocks on the way.
“We’re developing a young team and I’m just disappointed we didn’t show what we’re capable of today. We were beaten comprehensively all over the field.
“We didn’t play our own game and we didn’t play as well as we can.”