Waterford manager Michael Ryan says his team will compete in Division 1A – as shown by yesterday’s narrow win over Clare.

Ryan must face into the season without experienced campaigners John Mullane, Eoin Kelly, Eoin McGrath, who have all retired, and Stephen Molumphy, who is on Army duty.

But despite the loss of key players, Ryan says that the Déise shouldn’t be written off.

“I couldn’t understand the stories going around the county that things weren’t going well in our camp because we knew ourselves that we’d a good panel of players that are working very hard,” he told RTÉ Sport.

“Our team spirit is magnificent. We had a great team meeting last night. We got up this morning for breakfast and we could sense it – this team was ready to give a performance, and they did just that.

“There is great potential. I couldn’t understand the odds, we were 3-1 against winning this game."

He added: “Everyone knows there’s nothing between Waterford and Clare and we knew if we fought to the very end the chances were we’d be there.

“Brian O’Halloran was outstanding, he hasn’t played in a couple of years with injuries. Jake Dillon stood up to the task and took those late frees and our defence was magnificent.”