Waterford manager, Derek McGrath, has leapt to the defence of his team selection for their league quarter-final clash with Galway last Sunday and claims his camp are absolutely content with what they got out of the league this year.
Although the Déise did lose out eventually to the Joe Canning-inspired Tribesmen having been ten points up with around fifteen minutes remaining, McGrath is remaining upbeat, trusting in “the process.”
The general narrative across coverage of the quarter-final loss is that Waterford had no interest in winning the game, fielding a second string team, etc. The De La Salle clubman insists that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Speaking to Waterford News and Star, he stated:
“I won’t say it was lazy or speculative journalism in the run-up to it but there was certainly an element of doubt in terms of our approach today. I don’t think we’re in the business of answering critics or otherwise but we decided to stick with our process no matter what.
Sometimes people can look on it that you’re treating the league with contempt or disdain.
If we didn’t want to win that game today, we wouldn’t have been putting on Michael Walsh or Pauric Mahony or Noel Connors and that’s the reality of it. We wanted to win the game so ultimately, we’re disappointed.”
On Sunday’s performance and their league campaign in general, McGrath takes an extremely positive viewpoint, all factors considered. While emphasising that the league is a time for teams to learn in preparation for the championship, the De La Salle college teacher has claimed Waterford supporters can head into the Summer with a sense of optimism that the team can build on their progress of the past couple of seasons and be real contenders in Munster and for the All Ireland.
“I was just delighted with the overall performance albeit there was a ten or fifteen minute period where we couldn’t win a ball at all. I just put it down to momentum and maybe the impact of the bench wasn’t as strong and maybe the timing of the substitutions.
I was delighted with it overall; how we played and without sounding flippant about it, we’ve definitely got what we wanted out of the league in terms of performances,” he said.
“We’ll rise again we hope. We’re going to have one massive assault on the championship and see how it goes. It’ll be a game we’ll probably be underdogs in. We’re just going to prepare as diligently as possible for that. We’re ok with this result to be honest with you, we’re ok.”
Make sure to tune into the latest episode of the 16th Man podcast, where we discuss the legacy of Colm Cooper.