Dublin's Aoife Kane is expecting a close match when her side take on Westmeath in the Leinster final in July.
The All-Ireland champions are driving standards both within their own camp and around the country and Kane stressed the need to improve on last year's performance levels as the standard around the country improves as well.
Asked what winning the championship last season has done for the squad, she told Off the Ball's Máire Treasa Ní Cheallaigh: "It doesn't change our approach - it's still the same amount of hard work. It does change our stance on how we look at things. We've now set a benchmark in how we should play and in how other teams should play.
"We have to up that, along with other teams upping it as well so it just means for better quality games this year and we're really looking forward to the new set up of the championship as well which should be exciting.
"I think the standard is definitely increasing - I mean there's different demands being asked of us every day, every time we go out to training. The intensity and the levels of fitness are definitely improving.
"All those teams are huge contenders this year and we'd never underestimate any team we'd come up against. Especially coming into the Leinster final now - Westmeath are a fit and fast team and we're looking forward to that challenge.
"They almost caught us in the league and we had a bit of a scare there but every team is getting stronger and fitter each year and I think that while we have pace and strength in all of our girls on the pitch - so do Westmeath in ways and both teams have different qualities and different strengths and we hope it's a good match and a good challenge on the day," she added.