WHATEVER the ramification of a potential defeat on Saturday night on the pitch he graced with distinction for so long, Anthony Daly isn't expecting too many Dublin supporters to make the trip to Ennis.
It's, as he says himself, 'do-or-die' time for the Dubs and Daly.
Knockout hurling with a twist: Daly, the great leader of the most famous period in Clare hurling history and standing on the edge of the away dug-out, alone in a stadium full of his own people, attempting to salvage something from Dublin's season.
"After the performance we gave the last day, you couldn't expect that too many people would make the three-hour trip down," Daly acknowledged in conversation with the Herald.
"The Clare die-hards will be out and I'm sure me being the manager of Dublin will add a bit to that."
The overlapping of his own playing and managerial careers with Davy Fitzgerald will add plenty of neutral interest too but it's worth noting that Daly has already managed against Clare in two important matches. Dublin's draw with Clare in Parnell Park sent the Banner down to Division 2 in 2009 when Mike McNamara, one of Ger Loughnane's selectors during Daly's playing heyday, managed the team.
A year later, Daly's Dubs trashed his homeland, managed this time by his Clarecastle childhood friend, Ger 'Sparrow' O'Loughlin, in the All-Ireland Qualifiers.
Ennis, though, is different.
"I always loved hurling in the Park," Daly insists. "The last day (in the 2010 Championship match) was in Croker and Croker is more neutral really.
"There's a myth out there that Ennis is sort of small. It's not. Anyone who ever measured it has gotten a shock. It's just the nature of the stadium.
"It's a fine-sized big field, like Portlaoise or Tullamore."
So whether Dublin steady the ship and live to fight another round of the hurling Championship or Clare compound the Dubs annus horribilis, Daly won't be making any enemies on his home turf, least of all with Davy Fitz.
"We've been through a good bit together through the years," Daly reflects.
"We both made our debuts in 1990 and right through that time we were together. We wouldn't be falling out."
He adds, however: "But on the day, we'll both be trying to win for our teams on the day. There will be no questions of divided loyalties or anything on my behalf.
"This is my fourth year with Dublin and I have a tight bond built up with the boys and we'll be doing our best to get a result on the day.
"It's dog-eat-dog hurling between now and then. It's knockout now. There's no second chance. But we won't be holding any long-term grudges either."
There is, according to Daly, "a feel-good" factor which surrounds Clare at the moment. A raft of talented underage teams have sprouted green shoots into the senior set-up.
Fitzgerald's appointment has granted them a proven, top-class manager, one with a reputation for tactical astuteness and attention to detail in every facet of team preparation.
Promotion was their primary aim for the year -- a box already ticked, and though they went down in something resembling glory in Thurles against Waterford in the championship, the locals will see Dublin's low-ebb as an area on which they can capitalise.
"They feel that there is a good young team there and the main priority for them was to win promotion back up to 1A and that was achieved," Daly explains.
"Two victories over Limerick was big as well, being the old rivals. And there is great hope for the under-21s and minors. Most people are enthusiastic."
"They probably feel, from a Clare point of view, that Dublin are a legitimate target, with us being so poor the last day," he concedes.
"We've been relegated from 1A, they've gone the other direction. So I think they'll feel it's a good opportunity to get a win.
"They probably felt they could be in a Munster final. At least they didn't roll over and die like we did. We certainly have more fundamental things to get right than Clare have."
For all the gloom, Daly has challenged his players to make up for Portlaoise-gate and deliver a performance in the Ennis cauldron good enough to justify their passage through to the next round.
Dublin didn't, he insists, become a bad team because of one game but there are more questions now hanging over their collective heads than at any time during his reign.
"We would feel if we play our best, we could match them and hopefully beat Clare," he states. "Not on last week's performance, we certainly wouldn't be beating Clare.
"But if we can show up and bring a bit of fight with us and a bit of raw honesty and fellas are willing to put their bodies on the line for the battle, we have a chance. But no more than that."