Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE Waterford's Austin Gleeson pictured yesterday ahead of Sunday's Allianz Hurling League final against Clare.
setting goals

Gleeson confident goal-shy Waterford will discover their net worth

The young Deise star admits their three-goal semi-final return against Limerick was a “massive boost”.

AFTER FINDING THE net three times against Limerick, Austin Gleeson is adamant that the goals will come for Waterford when they’re needed.

Having failed to register a goal in four of their five Division 1A games in this season’s Allianz Hurling League, the Deise bucked that trend in their recent semi-final victory against their Munster rivals.

Ahead of Sunday’s final against Clare in Thurles, Gleeson says it was a significant return for Derek McGrath’s side: “It was a massive boost for us. With only having one goal in five games and getting three against Limerick, it was massive for us. It was even bigger for the management to get that off their backs and prove that we actually can score goals.

“I can’t think who it was against, but we got two or three scoring opportunities but we just couldn’t get the final pass or the final shot. With the keepers nowadays, you have to have pinpoint accuracy because there’s no keeper that’s going to leave a soft one in anymore. That’s the way it’s gone.

“To get the three goals, we could possibly have had a couple more, it’s going to come in time the more we get used to playing with each other and the runs that people make. Once that comes we’ll start scoring goals.”

In spite of their All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Kilkenny, 2015 was a positive year for a young Waterford team, who ended an eight-year wait for the county’s third Allianz Hurling League title.

With the experience they gained last season, added to the physical work they’ve invested over the winter, Gleeson believes Waterford are in a stronger position in 2016 to last the pace with the best teams in the country all the way to September.

Austin Gleeson with Gavin O’Mahony and Ronan Lynch Ryan Byrne / INPHO Waterford's Austin Gleeson under pressure from Limerick's Gavin O'Mahony and Ronan Lynch. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

“We have the confidence in ourselves that we could, obviously,” said Gleeson. “Last year we were beaten by Tipperary in Thurles, which was the Munster final. I think we were beaten by four points that day. Up here [at Croke Park] against Kilkenny, Kilkenny are used to playing here, they’re used to the big occasions and stuff like that, and so are Tipp, so we just learn from those occasions.

“I know we shouldn’t really have the excuses of not being playing in those occasions because there are lads on the team who have won Harty Cups, Minor All-Irelands, Munster, the League last year obviously, but it’s a learning experience for a lot of us and if it comes our way this year, hopefully the tides will turn and we’ll get over the line.”

Gleeson added: “Physically, there were a lot of us that needed to make a step-up but even at that, Kilkenny really showed that they are used to the [big days] and they just waited for that one ball and TJ [Reid] got that ball and put it in the net. That really stood out and always kept a goal between us.

“In the end they took off a small bit on it and really showed their experience. We showed our naivety. We have learned from that now and hopefully if it comes again a different scenario might come up.”

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