Clare and Waterford set to lay down early markers before Championship encounter

Jamsie O'Connor and Paul Flynn join Off The Ball to look ahead to this weekend's Allianz Hurling League final

This weekend's Allianz Hurling League final is played in the ominous shadow of the Championship, but that isn't to say that these sides aren't taking the league any less seriously.

With Kilkenny out of consideration, Clare and Waterford do battle before a their Championship encounter in five weeks time and on tonight's Off The Ball Jamsie O'Connor and Paul Flynn weighed up each side and whether or not they will hold anything back ahead of the league final.

"Absolutely not," said Paul Flynn,"I don't think either side will hide their tactics. I think everyone knows what Waterford are about, most people have and opinion on it. Clare played them in 2013 and 2014 and it seems they've moved on to vary their approach a bit, which has worked out well for them.

"I think there will be a contrast of styles and I think the Championship meeting on the June bank holiday weekend will be nothing but commitment from both sides.

"This year Waterford have brought some new personnel and they're another year older. They're a young side... they're improved a lot. The shooting has been good this yaer, last year they were knocking in 15,16 or 17 wides. This year there's been about half of that."

Jamsie O'Connor highlighted the change in Clare's panel this year and have adopted a more straightforward approach to their game.

"They've been far more direct. At times last year they were playing a two-man or even a one-man full forward line, asking an awful lot of Shane O'Donnell. There was balls being hit into the corner and it took a lot of energy for him to win it and beat a couple of players on the way in.

"This year, John Conlon has spent some time on the edge of the square. He's got ball winning ability or at the very least, ability to grapple with the full back and there's been scores from him doing damage or him coming off breaks."