In a media briefing earlier this month, Cork manager Ronan McCarthy was eager to address the elephant in the room.
A week before the return of the league and his side are just a point from promotion back to Division 2.
But McCarthy wasn't pretending they didn't have at least one eye on what was coming down the track. Kerry in Páirc Uí Chaoimh in a straight knock-out Munster Championship was still a month away, but it was at the forefront of his mind.
The Kerry game was, he said, "the only show in town".
"What I would say is you are in a difficult scenario at the moment," McCarthy added.
"Because, normally, you say to players, focus on your next game. That should be your only focus. But there's no question that we also have to have an eye on further down the road, and the match on November 8.
"Our priority is that match, that is our number one focus. But we need to make sure that, while focusing on that, we don't take our eye off the ball. It's a difficult one for a management team, because there is only one show in town here. That's the Kerry match on November 8.
"But we still have a job to do. We want the benefit of the two (league) games, players getting minutes in their legs, but with a view to building towards the Kerry match. We are trying to get the job done. We'll look for the big performance on November 8."
Luck drew the province's two heavyweights against each other this time. Kerry, looking for an eighth provincial title on the bounce, are clear favourites, but there's enough in last year's final to give Cork hope.
That day, Cork's direct running caused Kerry all sorts of trouble. They plundered three goals and created another three good goal chances before Kerry, down to 14 men after the dismissal of Paul Geaney, steadied the ship. In some ways, Cork did Kerry a favour that day by shining a light on their defensive issues.
"It's an area that is a huge worry," Kingdom legend Marc Ó Sé agreed. "That said, we did improve after that game, in our defence. It was an area we needed to improve on."
That performance marked a huge improvement from Cork in a year. They had lost the 2018 Munster final to Kerry by a whopping 17 points. They had also suffered the ignominy of relegation to Division Three just a couple of months earlier. They'd go on to reach the Super 8s, while Kerry would lose the All-Ireland final after a replay.
This year, they'll face off again with the usual local bragging rights at stake, and lots more besides. The winners of that game will be expected to go on and claim the Munster title, while there is also a favourable schedule on offer, with a two-week run-in from game to game.
Considering Monaghan and Cavan are faced with winning four Ulster Championship games inside 21 days, the route through Munster looks much more accessible.
Whether Cork have come on enough to take a Kerry side, who, themselves, will have benefitted hugely from the experience of playing in two All-Ireland finals last year, remains to be seen. Playing in Division Three doesn't seem like the best preparation for taking on a team the bookmakers have as second favourites for the All-Ireland.
But it feels like sport around the world is seeing more and more upsets. Throw in the high-wire act that is knockout football and it gets interesting. With no back door, there's no time to be blowing out 'dirty petrol'. Cork have more than a puncher's chance.
The rest are part of the familiar parade. The Cork-Kerry duopoly is a fact of life for the other four counties, but there is, at least, the chance to play for a place in the Munster final.
Going into the new season, league placings put Clare as next in line to Kerry in terms of the province's pecking order, as they were the only Munster county in Division Two. The return of Jamie Malone and, in particular, Gary Brennan is significant as they head to Semple Stadium to face Tipperary.
Tipp are under the guidance of David Power, who led the county to a famous All-Ireland minor title in 2011. They are also boosted by the availability of Michael Quinlivan, who cancelled his plans to spend the year travelling with the onset of the pandemic.
Rumours that AFL star Colin O'Riordan would make himself available were wide of the mark, while John Meagher has opted to line out for Liam Sheedy's hurlers.
The winners of that game play the winners of Waterford's clash with Limerick. Waterford face an all too familiar rebuild job. Manager Benji Whelan approached around 100 players to play for the county, underlining the extent of the task he faces.
Limerick started the year brilliantly, collecting the McGrath Cup in January, before winning four of five games before the break in action. Should they get past Waterford, they'll face a shot at either Clare or Tipp for a place in the Munster final for the first time since they ran Kerry to three points in 2010.
There's a chance for the rest to get a ticket to the big dance - but, as ever, Cork versus Kerry is the only show in town.