That is a bit harsh. I saw Clare's minors beat Cork in this year's championship. I saw Clare under 21s absolutely destroy Cork in the under 21 and their seniors beat Waterford and Limerick in the championship (and were unlucky against Cork (very) and Tipperary). I think overall, this was a good year for Clare and they have some really good hurlers in Cyril Donnellan, Pat Vaughan, Brendan Bugler and Brian O Connell (I am not convinced about Mark O Flaherty yet). If you add these guys, a few more under 21s in the next few years to lads like Tony Griffen, Conor Plunkett, Tony Carmody etc then I believe that Clare will be definetly contending for an All-Ireland in two or three years time.
I think that the signs are there that the hurling resurgence that was great for the game in the 1990s (with strong Offaly, Clare, Wexford and Limerick teams) is on the way back. We are about two years away I believe. To me, Kilkenny are unbackable favourites to win this year (I doubt anyone can disagree) but a lot of counties are making progress. Chief among them are Offaly, Clare, Tipp and Dublin.
Ok in the Munster final the best team won without doubt. However, they did make a strong comeback and were looking good for a while.
Clare, though I knew it would never happen, looked like they were heading back to the bad old days under Tony Considine. To be fair though, they pulled it around big time in the last year. 2009 is a new year now though. I am sure Mike Mc realizes that 2008 now means nothing (you can be sure Brian Cody thinks like that anyway).