Donal Óg Cusack said his belief in this Clare hurling side is "starting to be tested" as he predicted a Limerick victory in the Munster SHC round-robin showdown this Sunday.
The Treaty have to win at the Gaelic Grounds or face the prospect of an ognominous exit from the Championship.
Defeat to Clare coupled with a Cork victory over struggling Waterford would send them out, and represent the earliest exit of a reigning All-Ireland hurling champion team in 27 years, when Tipperary’s title defence fell at the provincial semi-final hurdle.
It's not a scenario Cusack - who was on the Banner coaching ticket under then manager Davy Fitzgerald in 2016 - expects to play out.
"Limerick-Clare is a hugely interesting game," he told the RTÉ GAA Podcast.
"I suppose the biggest thing is, if Limerick are defeated they are gone from the Championship. It's a huge pressure game for themselves.
"Clare... my belief is starting to be tested in them. One of the reasons I went to Clare as a coach when I got the chance was I had a great belief in the way they played the game and in their potential.
"I would say that since, you'd have to worry about their defence, you'd have to worry about their performance against Tipperary the last day."
The Banner were hammered by Tipp 3-21 to 0-17 after beating Waterford 1-20 to 0-22 first day out.
"Even now looking back on the Waterford game and what's happened since, it puts a different view on that result down in Walsh Park," Cusack added.
"I don't think they're going to carry any fear going to Limerick. In my time there they didn't. They'd a very healthy rivalry. The Gaelic Grounds I'd imagine is probably closer to a lot of Clare people than Cusack Park in Ennis.
"But looking at the form I'd have to go with Limerick. My belief in that Clare team is being tested."
Hosts Des Cahill and Peter Sweeney are joined by Cusack and Colm Cooper for the first episode of the 2019 RTÉ GAA Podcast.
You can listen to the full episode below.
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