Clare joint-manager Gerry O’Connor wants to turn Cusack Park into a "fortress" for the Munster Championship.

The new round-robin format means that the five participants will have two home and two away games.

The Banner won both of their home games in the Allianz League – against Tipperary and Cork – and O’Connor wants to keep the territory hostile for the visits of Waterford and Limerick.

"We deliberately targeted our two home league matches," O’Connor told RTÉ Sport.

"We wanted to turn Cusack Park into a fortress. We were very vocal is saying that to the media and the players.

"And the players responded and the Clare supporters came out.

"There are a lot of preconceptions about Cusack Park, one that it is a very tight pitch.

"It’s actually bigger than Thurles and Croke Park – it’s just that the ground is so down on top of you that it feels like a smaller pitch. But we love playing there. And we’re used to playing there."

Gerry O'Connor (l) with joint manager Donal Moloney 

Clare’s league run came to an end in the quarter-finals when they lost out to Limerick in a sudden-death free-taking shoot-out after the match finished in a tie.  

However, the campaign also included a win against Kilkenny in Nowlan Park and one of O’Connor’s big aims for the Championship is consistency.

"We tend to flit in and out of games," he said.

"The Kilkenny game was a typical example of that. We played really well for the first 25 minutes.

"Basically, we went out of the game for 10 minutes and allowed Kilkenny back into it.

"If we can get to that level of consistency across 75 minutes we will be in pretty good shape."

Their first game comes in just under three weeks' time, a trip to face Cork in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.  

Paul Flanagan (Achilles) and Oisin O’Brien (knee) won’t be fit for that game but Peter Duggan, Cathal McInerney, Shane Golden and Conor McGrath are available after overcoming "niggly" concerns.

O’Connor also calmed concern over the availability of Shane O’Donnell for next season.

The UCC PhD student, who starred in the 2013 Liam MacCarthy win, will spend some time at Havard University in the United States of America but is due back in Ireland next March.

"[He’s] looking forward to a fabulous winter in Boston," said O'Connor. 

"Shane is one of these incredibly talented guys, academically, physically, mentally. But he doesn’t kick off in Boston [until] September and he’ll be back again in March.

"He kept us in the loop through the whole process.

"He was as surprised as anybody but Shane is one of these laid-back guys that just gets on with things like that. He’ll take it all in his stride.

"He’ll probably come back more refreshed than any player after spending the winter in Boston."