Waterford have a swagger about them - Ryan
Having preceded Derek McGrath as Waterford hurling boss, Michael Ryan is well aware of the team's talent but he predicts serious resistance, particularly from Kilkenny, as the Deise strive for an All-Ireland breakthrough.
It's 57 years since Waterford last lifted Liam MacCarthy but optimism is high in the county on the back of last year's League triumph, but the current Westmeath manager has called for patience with the promising side.
Ryan believes improving on last year's All-Ireland semi-final appearance is far from a formality.
"I haven't seen many of their games because we've been playing at the same time but they're an exciting bunch of hurlers and they have that confident swagger about them," Ryan said.
"They've been a revelation in the last year and it hasn't really surprised me but winning an All-Ireland is a completely different story. It's so competitive, Clare are coming back strong, the same with Limerick.
"And Kilkenny will not be knocked off their perch without a fight. As long as Brian Cody is alive and kicking Kilkenny are going to be fair hard beaten."