Pundit Arena columnist Eoin Larkin looks back at the National Hurling League quarter-final between Waterford and Galway, and feels it was a game the Déise should have won, regardless of the weakened team Derek McGrath had out.
The manner in which Waterford let that game slip in Salthill would be a worry.
Derek clearly didn’t have any interest in winning the League, judging by the team he fielded; that’s understandable as they’ve competed in finals the last two years. They’ll want to get it right for Championship.
In saying that, they were 10 points up with 17/18 minutes to go. So, if you have ambitions of winning the All-Ireland, even with a weakened team you should be killing that game off.
McGrath said after the game that there were a lot of positives to take from it, but a glaring negative is being 10 points up and letting a team back into it. It’s criminal.
I think he’ll will be disappointed this week even though he said there were positives. In fairness, there probably were a few.
After they let a significant lead slip against Kilkenny in the drawn semi-final last year, you’d worry about their ability to close games out as frontrunners.
They really needed to be pushing on.
They brought on some of the regular starters and they still just couldn’t get over the line and that’s been a factor of Waterford over the last number of years. They’ve been in positions to win games and haven’t won them.
Sunday was no different and that’s something that needs to be addressed by Derek McGrath and his backroom team.
Having said that, I was impressed with the mental toughness of Galway to work their way back into the tie.
They’re always capable of doing that. We played them in the 2014 Leinster semi-final in Tullamore and they came back from nine points down with a couple of minutes to go and got a draw.
The Tribesmen are able to do that but can they push on now and drive it? They can’t afford to be letting teams go 10 points up on them in the Championship and expect to come back and win, it doesn’t work like that.
The challenge for Mícheál Donoghue and their backroom team is to see if they can get consistency in their game and start well, because if they can bring that second-half level of performance to an entire game, they’ll be hard to stop.
Consistency is the biggest thing for Donoghue. He seems to be getting things out of players that maybe other managers weren’t. They’ll be going back now training hard and looking forward to next weekend.
Finally, a quick word on Limerick. I wrote before the Cork game that if they were serious about being competitive this summer, they should be aiming to go down to Páirc Uí Rinn and get a win.
We’ve seen before Limerick get a good win and then they just fall away and go down tamely to another team. That’s where the inconsistency comes in and here we are speaking about Limerick being inconsistent.
Now the challenge is if they can push on from it. If they go out and get beaten by Galway, they’re back to square one again.
They really need to push on now, start being able to win games and get a bit of confidence going into the championship.