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Derek McGrath’s Praises Dan Shanahan To The Hilt In Describing Waterford Set-Up

Derek McGrath has led Waterford to their first All-Ireland final since 2008 and this Sunday the Déise will bid to overcome Galway to lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup for the first time in 58 years.

Waterford have made great improvements under the De La Salle man but it has not come without its criticism as McGrath has been scrutinised in both the local and national media with the debate surrounding his sweeper tactics.

Throughout the years of Paul Flynn, John Mullane and Dan Shanahan, the Déise were regarded as an attacking side who scored plenty of goals and adopted an attacking brand of hurling.

There is no denying that this has changed under McGrath. But the manager has praised Shanahan for his support of his system in the midst of all the debate.

All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Semi-Final, Croke Park, Dublin 13/8/2017 Cork vs Waterford Waterford's manager Derek McGrath celebrates with Philip Mahony Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

The iconic forward has been a selector on the Waterford panel throughout the McGrath era, often grabbing the headlines for his animated sideline antics, and also his recent coming-together with Cork counter-part Diarmuid O’Sullivan.

Speaking to the Irish Independent ahead of Sunday’s All-Ireland final, McGrath did not hold back when it came to expressing his appreciation for Dan’s support over the last few years.

“He has been so loyal in the face of the national debate and the criticism, in that he was on a team that was renowned for scoring goals, more so than ourselves. To be able to stick himself to our way is an admirable trait.”

Dan’s brother Maurice is also a member of the Waterford panel and McGrath also reserved special praise for the objectiveness displayed when it comes to his selection.

“We have a great relationship. Even the fact Maurice has not been on the team the last couple of matches. There has been no sense of complaint. He is just interested in what is best for the team. And that has been brilliant.”

Maurice has made a significant impact from the bench in the games against Kilkenny and Cork this year, so the decisions from the Déise management team have proved fruitful.

The Waterford manager also took the opportunity to reserve praise for his opposite number Micheál O’Donoghue – a man he once marked in an All-Ireland minor final.

“[He is] a very astute man and he has fostered a real togetherness in terms of their approach. They have swatted everyone aside.”

Many now regard McGrath and Shanahan as the two men who will guide their charges to glory on Sunday. For their commitment to the cause, few could say it would not be a deserved victory.

Jordan Norris, Pundit Arena

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Check out the latest episode of The 16th Man where we previewed the big clash between Waterford and Galway

https://soundcloud.com/punditarenagaa/dublin-mayo-on-collision-course-and-we-hear-from-micheal-odonoghue-ahead-of-the-hurling-final

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Author: Jordan Norris

Mostly covering football and GAA - Jordan is currently studying a BA English in UCC, and can be contacted through [email protected] .