Peter O’Mahony has stressed the need for Munster to keep their cool when they face Clermont in the Champions Cup on Saturday but said there was a “little more fire in training” ahead of the game.

Munster lie top of Pool 1 going into the round three game at Thomond Park, and know that a win at home would put them in a commanding position in the group.

However, in Clermont, they face last year’s runners-up in what was the Heineken Cup, and the back-to-back clashes - Munster travel to the Stade Marcel-Michelin on Sunday week - have the potential to define their season.

O’Mahony told RTÉ Sport that he is keenly aware of the importance of the two games to come, and what they would mean for his team.

“Back-to-backs around this time of year are often deciding factors for a lot of the pools, especially with the way the competition has gone, how fiercely competitive these pools are: they’ve a huge influence on the outcome,” O’Mahony said.

“It’s a huge fortnight for everyone.”

However, O’Mahony insisted that the only way to deal with the challenge of the French side was to concentrate on the task at hand.

“We’re not going to be looking beyond Thomond on Saturday,” he said.

“For such a quality side you can’t be thinking about the 160 minutes. It’s about Saturday and it’s about the 80 minutes.”

He said there was a noticeable increase in intensity in Munster’s training this week, as they prepare for the next round of a competition of which they have made their own.

“There’s a little bit more fire in training, and obviously there is an emotional attachment when it comes to European weeks ... guys get a little fired up. But that’s always good to see.”

Clermont are no strangers for Munster. 2013’s gripping semi-final saw the French outfit come out on top, 16-10, to end the province's hopes in the competition.

Any sense of a revenge mission, or allowing emotion to cloud judgement was dispelled by O’Mahony, who highlighted the need for Munster to keep their discipline in a game that may prove to be a tight encounter.

“It’s not just with this weekend,” he said.

“It’s a huge part of rugby nowadays. It’s about keeping your penalty count as low as you can, and obviously having the discipline to stay in the system.”