Everybody loves Podge Collins.
He's got the touch of skill that makes hurling lovers drool, he's the hardest worker on the field, he's a nice guy, he was the last dual player, and he was the saddest man in Ireland when he got sent off against Wexford in 2014.
So while Clare have struggled this year in their return to Division 1A of the Hurling League and will face a relegation playoff with Dublin, the shining light of their season so far has been the return to form of Podge. Now concentrating solely on hurling, and back to full flight after his cruciate injury in 2015, he's looking more and more like the player who was nominated for Hurler of the Year in 2013.
Clare's goal threat during the League has been almost null. They scored just four in five games, with only Cork have a worse goal scoring record. A lot of that is down to injuries to Conor McGrath and Shane O'Donnell and the club commitments of Tony Kelly. When goal chances are hard to come by, it often has to be something spectacular to get over the line. And that's exactly what Podge Collins achieved in Clare's defeat to Waterford on Sunday.
Podge Collins Goal
It was a really brilliant hurling goal. First there was the battle for possession, won by Clare. Then brilliant interplay and use of space by Aaron Shanagher and Collins.
You can see above that when Shanagher picks up the ball, moving away from goal, Collins isn't even in shot. But he's already exploiting the huge amount of space left in the middle of the Waterford defence. And Shanagher is already seeking him out, just before a beautifully weighted pass.
From here, Collins never breaks stride, bursting through the space before Waterford defenders can close it.
Then it's just a quick pull-up and turn, and buries it off his left side from 20 metres out.
Top corner. Unstoppable. Doesn't get much better than that.
You can watch the goal, along with all the other best scores from the hurling weekend below. The Collins goal begins at 1.24.
Great to see Podge in full flight again. Pity his team won't be repeating last year's League title.