A level of performance across the four games in the Munster round-robin was ultimately what served Clare hurlers well in their progression to the Munster final, according to joint-manager Donal Moloney.

For the second year running, the Banner will take on Cork in the provincial decider as they strive for a first title since 1998. After a loss to the Rebels in their opening game on 20 May, Clare won three games on the bounce to secure their place in the Thurles showpiece on Sunday and, crucially had a week break after game two. 

Much has been made about the sequence of games in this new world of the round-robin with some teams having to play four weeks on the trot, while others had a window to recharge their batteries.

Moloney accepts that the schedule did help his side.

"We have benefited from the new structure and the sequence of games in particular really helped us, versus other teams," he told RTÉ Sport.

"The break in the middle was a big help and it enabled us to finish that bit fresher against Tipperary and against Limerick. In both of those games the last quarter was vital.

"I think there is some merit in the fact that we played those teams, particularly Tipp (who had no week off), who in the first quarter were outstanding. It was a big challenge for us to stay with them."

Clare had an important win over Munster rivals Tipperary

However, Moloney, was also keen to stress that all involved knew the lie of the land well before a ball was pucked.

"Every team knew well in advance what the sequence was and were tailoring their preparations accordingly," he added.

"It was more about consistency over the 320 minutes of hurling that teams played. That was really critical."

And so to a second meeting with Cork in this year’s championship and a re-run of last year’s final which the Rebels won by five points.

The Scarriff native is not one to dwell on what has gone before. "This is a different competition than last year. We had a really good clash with Cork at the outset in Páirc Ui Chaimh and our focus since then has been on improving our performance

"It doesn’t matter that we haven’t beaten Cork in a Munster final since 1932 and haven't won Munster since '98 because at the highest level there are often long intervals between trophies and that's the reality of it.

"From our perspective it's about this group of men at this point in time producing one of their best performances. That's what going to be required to try and beat Cork."

Follow all the hurling this weekend via our live blogs on RTÉ.ie and the News Now App, watch exclusive television coverage of Clare v Cork, and Galway v Kilkenny on The Sunday Game Live, RTÉ One, from 1.10pm or listen to exclusive national radio commentary of both  games on Sunday Sport, RTÉ Radio 1. Highlights on The Sunday Game at 9.30pm on RTÉ2.