Podge Collins has warned hurling supporters about placing too much store in results at this time of year.
Clare enjoyed a 20-point swing against Kilkenny in Ennis on Sunday from their opening round loss to Cork in Páirc Ui Rinn.
It silenced some of the criticism Collins heard about his team last week.
“In the league, I don’t think you can take too much from anything. All this week, you’re hearing off people how bad we were and how bad we are and how it’s going to be a bad year. It’s so negative and then you go out and maybe we performed better.
“Aaron Shanagher was excellent, and our full-back line was excellent, and that’s a big positive. But I think there are a lot of teams in the country — eight or nine — who on their day can produce anything.
"Tipperary are obviously the standout team, maybe Waterford as well, Kilkenny of course, but on any given day anything can happen.
“Thankfully, (v Kilkenny) our attitude and performance was right, Kilkenny are probably disappointed and I’m sure if we played them tomorrow, it could be a different result.
“You can’t say from a game like that that one team is better than the other. I definitely wouldn’t anyway; when you meet them again, it could be a completely different story.
"If you were to go off the first-round games and say who would win the second round, you’d be completely wrong.”
On Sunday, Clare looked more than a match for Kilkenny in the physical stakes. The difference between teams in that regard, Collins says, is marginal.
“Nearly all counties are conditioned to a certain level these days, and they’re all big and strong. If you did a combine like American football and you put the Kilkenny boys against the Clare boys against the Galway boys and all of that, it would be very similar.”
That’s not for Collins to say that Kilkenny have dropped back. “The most consistent team over the past three or four years, they are still more consistent than Tipperary so I still wouldn’t be knocking them.
“Last year they were in the All-Ireland final and when they lost that, people wrote them off. You might as well write off the other six or seven teams chasing Tipp if that’s the case.”
Clare’s move from a sweeper system to a more orthodox version will take getting used to but Collins has faith in the defenders.
“When you’ve lads like Oisín O’Brien, Cian Dillon and Seadna Morey in your full-back line, I’d never worry.
“Even when they get turned, they’re quick and well able to get back. I definitely hate marking them in training.”
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