Derek McGrath has acted swiftly to eradicate the issues in his Waterford camp which saw them come up short against Cork in Sunday’s Munster SHC semi-final.
The Déise were second best at the weekend for the majority of the game, with the Rebels fully deserving of their 0-23 to 1-15 win. Even after Cork were reduced to 14 men with around ten minutes remaining following Colm Spillane’s red card for two bookable offences, it was the men in red that finished out the game stronger.
That is what will worry Waterford followers the most. Not the subdued performance of 2016 Hurler of The Year, Austin Gleeson, or the faltering of their renowned sweeper system. Those are problems that can be solved with a tweak of tactics, and in all probability, a player of the stature of Gleeson will not put in another display as quiet for the remained of the summer.
The most concerning issue for the Déise will be that they were out-fought all over the pitch. Cork worked harder than them from the outset all the way to the final whistle on Sunday in Thurles.
Manager, McGrath, has moved immediately to put the wrongs of that defeat right in an effort to salvage their 2017 championship campaign. The Déise now head for the qualifiers and the De La Salle clubman has shaken up his backroom team before the draw for the first round of back-door fixtures has been made.
Ex-Waterford players Eoin Murphy and Fergal Hartley have been introduced as selectors to work alongside McGrath, Dan Shanahan and co, according to The42.ie.
Murphy and Hartley are well respected in hurling circles within the county and further afield, having been part of the legendary Waterford teams of the noughties.
Murphy, an All Star corner-back in 2006, won four Munster Championships with the county, in 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2010, whereas Hartley famously captained the side to that 2002 victory. Hartley hails from Ballygunner in the east of the county and Murphy represents the Shamrocks club from the west of Waterford to give the management team a good balance.
Having lost Fintan O’Connor, a selector last year, to the post of Kerry manager for this season and following the abrupt departure of his replacement Philip Murphy from the set-up before the conclusion of the National Hurling League this spring, it was widely assumed that assistance for Derek McGrath was needed within the camp.