After contesting the All-Ireland final in September after consecutive semi-final defeats, the last three years have been hectic for the Waterford hurlers.
Add to that the fact that a number of players came straight into the senior set-up from minor and a lot of this current crop of players have never had a substantial break from hurling.
One such player is Shane Bennett who, it has been announced, will take a step away from the inter-county scene as the Deise prepare for pre-season training.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Waterford manager Derek McGrath said:
“Shane Bennett is taking a bit of a break.
“He’s been on the road for the last three years, so we’re just giving him a bit of time, more than anything else.
“We didn’t meet, we spoke over the phone, but he’s having a small bit of a break and we’re hoping he’ll come back in the spring.”
McGrath also announced that All-Star Jamie Barron is also set for a spell on the sidelines.
Barron missed Sunday’s Waterford SFC final with a quad injury as The Nire lost by a single point after extra time.
“That might take a bit of time (to heal)”
With the new round-robin system for the provincial championships, the games will come thick and fast. Waterford, like everyone else, will need to have a good squad of players as they face into four high-intensity Munster Championship games in five weeks.
So while they will be without two talented hurlers in the spring, it is a great opportunity for others to put their hands up as they look to go one step further in 2018 and win a first All-Ireland since 1959.
Check out the latest episode of The 16th Man as we review Cuala’s win in the Leinster club final and hear from Mattie Kenny and Con O’Callaghan.