Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald has said that his side are up to ten weeks behind in their preparations compared to last year.

Speaking after Clare’s 2-17 to 0-17 Allianz Hurling League Division 1A loss to Dublin at Parnell Park, Fitzgerald said his side had been outfought by the Dubs, who, he said had thoroughly deserved the win.

“This league, there’s gonna be very little between the teams,” Fitzgerald told RTÉ's Sunday Sport. “This time of year, if you’re very committed, sure it could go any way.

“Dublin showed savage intensity, ferocity, they fought better than we did today, and they totally deserve their victory today.”

"As the year goes on, we’ll definitely be fresher, we’ll be better" - Davy Fitzgerald

Asked what he wanted from this year’s League, Fitzgerald said, “To survive. That’s it.

“We are nine or ten weeks behind where we were this time last year. That’s fact, so it is. If we can survive we’ll be happy enough.”

However, he was confident that his side will be up to speed by the time the Championship starts, and said that if they could match last year’s All-Ireland-winning hunger, they would be challengers again.

“As the year goes on, we’ll definitely be fresher, we’ll be better, y’know,” he said.

“The most important thing is – we should be in better shape – but, if we have that enthusiasm, have that fire in our bellies, have the same thing that we had last year, make the same amounts of tackles, and are as committed, we will be there or thereabouts with a chance.”