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'Extremely disappointing' and 'gut-wrenching' but Waterford won't dump sweeper system

Waterford boss Derek McGrath has been reflecting on his team’s Gaelic Grounds collapse.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

WATERFORD MANAGER DEREK McGrath couldn’t hide his disappointment following his side’s Munster senior hurling final collapse at the Gaelic Grounds yesterday.

The Déise fell to a 21-point defeat reminiscent of the seven-goal mauling they copped in 2011 from Tipperary.

Once again, it was the Premier County inflicting pain on their neighbours as they won a fifth Munster final against Waterford in eight seasons.

But McGrath has vowed not to tear up the script and in fact, the heavy nature of his team’s defeat has only served to reinforce his belief in the sweeper system.

“It actually reinforces the way we set up. A close analysis of that game will show that for 45 minutes or so, we were actually conventional.

“It was just that Tipp dropped a player back and it made up look like we had an extra man.

“It would actually revert me to thinking that we’re better off playing a particular way.

Michael Ryan with Derek McGrath Derek McGrath (left) congratulates Tipperary manager Michael Ryan at full-time. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“The nature of the defeats against Clare and Kilkenny [in the 2014 league] brought about a change but that was an off-season change. We’re in mid-season now.

“We haven’t the time to alter too much. We altered today. We choose today as the time to decide that 0-16 wouldn’t be good enough to win a Munster final. It wasn’t good enough last year. The irony of it is that we scored less.

Extremely disappointing, gut-wrenching. We pushed on a bit more than we normally do and the wheels came off. Maybe it’s a case of sometimes not being system-dependant.

“What we kind of envisaged in our minds what might happen if we pushed on, actually happened.

“Tipperary cut us open and any analysis of us has to be balanced by how clinical Tipp were.”

McGrath also admitted that it will be tough to lift his young stars for an All-Ireland quarter-final against Wexford in Thurles on Sunday week, 24 July.

“A young group, it could be hard to lift them. The demoralising effect of the nature of the defeat, it’s very hard to quantify how they might react.

“That’s the honest answer – I’m just not sure.


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Waterford selector Dan Shanahan cuts a dejected figure on the touchline. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“But all I can think of  now is how poor we were.

“It’s very hard to take and I’m just questioning how we came into it – our training regime, did we overtrain them? That’s my thought process at the minute.

“The nature of it is we felt the Munster championship would be the best way of continuing and maintaining success.

“But to be beaten in the manner that we did will test our managerial credentials now because the nature of the defeat is alarming.”

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