Dan Shanahan: Clare are 'streets ahead' of Waterford
Waterford hurling selector Dan Shanahan has fired the first volley in the pre-Championship mind games by insisting league final and Munster SHC opponents Clare are "streets ahead" of the Déise.
The two counties are set to meet in the May 1 showpiece ahead of a Munster semi-final on June 5 and Shanahan was impressed with Clare's "absolutely outstanding" performance against Kilkenny in Sunday's League semi-final.
Clare boss Davy Fitzgerald has described Waterford as "the best team in the country" at this point in time but Shanahan responded in kind, hailing the Banner men's qualities.
"Watching the game on Sunday, Clare were just unbelievable, he said. "The system they use, everybody knows to a tee what their jobs are.
"We were behind the Kilkenny lads watching the game and no bulls***, they were absolutely outstanding.
"I'm not building up Clare, I'm just being honest, they were absolutely outstanding, streets ahead of us.
"They've won All-Ireland U21 titles in the last few years but we're competing with them and that's a big thing."
Shanahan also declared himself satisfied with Waterford's performance against Limerick in Thurles.
"We would be very happy, bad first half, good second half," he said. "Again, I think we created maybe five or six goal chances and took three. Not bad."