Gerry O'Connor feels that Clare can one day reach the high levels Galway hit this year but accepts it could be "two or three years down the road".
O'Connor and Donal Maloney guided the Banner man to a Munster final this past summer before running Tipperary close in an All-Ireland quarter-final.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, the Killanena clubman says there were huge lessons learned for the group and knows that there's plenty of work to do in 2018.
"At the moment, we are behind Galway, no doubt about that," said O'Connor. "They've been building this team for the last few years and fair play to them, they were mentally and physically challenged throughout the season and they delivered on all fronts.
"We'd like to think with hard work and plenty of mental and physical preparation that we can get to the level they reached this year. From our perspective, the big thing about Galway is that they'll win the ball any way - in the air, down low. They probably have a group of 25- to 29-year-olds, whereas the oldest guy on our panel is 28. They're two or three years down the road in terms of that cycle, so our job is to short-circuit that cycle."