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Don't judge Ryan yet -- Walsh

WATERFORD hurling skipper Michael 'Brick' Walsh insists new boss Michael Ryan can only be judged after a run of matches, WRITES JACKIE CAHILL.

The Munster heavyweights suffered an eight-point defeat against Cork in their opening League fixture and host in-form All-Ireland champions Kilkenny at Walsh Park this Sunday.

Another defeat would leave the Deise in the relegation mire already but Walsh believes the return of key players in the coming weeks will lead to improved results.

Ryan has been hamstrung by the loss of big-name stars to the Fitzgibbon Cup, while John Mullane is on an extended break and other players have been struck down by injury.

But Mullane is set to return in a fortnight's time and there is also fresh speculation that Eoin Kelly, axed by Ryan in the new year, could feature too before the end of the League campaign as he continues an individualised programme with a personal trainer.

"It's early days yet, still only March, but it's going to be a big test for us on Sunday," Walsh said. "Every manager brings his own stamp to it and Michael has done that. But he can only be measured on the games ahead. We played one game so far, we were poor on the day but it's all about the games ahead and it takes a couple of months to know how things are going."

Walsh, superb at centre-back for Waterford in recent seasons, has been utilised at centre-forward on the team so far this year. "The way you look at it is, anywhere you can get on the team and do your bit, you're honoured to play for your county," he said.

"You won't get an answer out of me on that! I don't mind, genuinely the way I see it is that if you're lucky enough to get on, you should play and do your best for the team."

Irish Independent