Having soared to a place in the Munster Final with a game to spare, Clare are faced with the same conundrum as Limerick were in the lead-up to last Sunday’s Shannonside derby in Ennis.
Essentially that they don’t want to lose the unquestionable momentum built up so far by fielding a weakened team and possibly suffering defeat but at the same time their main focus must be on taking down the three-in-a-row champions and garnering a first Munster title since Brian Lohan himself was at his peak in 1998.
What should transpire is a combination of both as any player that has any complaint or ailment will sit out this final round showpiece.
Those that require some valuable game-time such as the returning Ian Galvin, Shane Meehan, David Reidy, Aron Shanagher and possibly even Mark Rodgers will get the opportunity to stake their claim for a stating berth in that provincial final showdown
It must also be noted that this is a major opportunity to take out one of their main rivals as a Clare victory would mean that Waterford would have to depend on others to save their All-Ireland lives.
Indeed, a Cork win against Tipperary would end Waterford’s season regardless of what happens in Ennis which for the recently crowned National League champions that were viewed as the great white hope to finally end Limerick’s dominance would be a detrimental fall from grace in the space of only six weeks.
With a full deck, Clare should complete an unbeaten group stage campaign but anything less and Waterford’s urgency could unearth a first ever championship victory on Clare soil.
Munster Senior Hurling Championship Round 5
Clare v Waterford at Cusack Park Ennis, Sunday 4pm (Paud O’Dwyer, Carlow)