Cathal Noonan/INPHO Derek McGrath: 'Particularly with the group we have, they’d be mad keen to watch the soccer'
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Planning around the Euros and letting players have 'a few pints' - Waterford boss Derek McGrath
The Deise boss believes in letting his players enjoy wins.

WATERFORD MAY BE bidding for Munster glory on Sunday but hurling demands do not come at the expense of everything for their squad.

Like watching the Euro 2016 action in France.

Or going to the pub to celebrate a big Munster championship win, like they did against Clare last month.

“We actually had training originally for Wednesday night (when Ireland played Italy) and we changed it,” remarks manager Derek McGrath.

“It has to. Particularly with the group we have, they’d be mad keen to watch the soccer.

“We had a sweep for the Euros as well. I got Austria! And they give me first pick.

“You have to factor it in because they love all sports, love watching Ireland games. (After a) Friday night we trained, they had the weekend off, had Saturday off to watch (Ireland) Belgium.

“(The) night Ireland were playing Sweden, we didn’t train either. We’d look at all the fixtures. Tried to keep away from the England fixtures as well.”

McGrath was keen to let his players savour the semi-final success over Clare as well.

“The satisfaction came from the effort the lads put in for the four weeks leading into that game, it was fantastic, and getting a performance out of them, it was brilliant.

“We had a few pints on the Sunday – and on the Monday, which is probably unheard of in this day and age, and then they went back to the clubs.

Derek McGrath celebrates winning with Jamie Barron Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO Waterford boss Derek McGrath celebrates their victory with Jamie Barron Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO / INPHO

“I went for a couple with them the second night and it wasn’t a case of the old schoolteacher keeping an eye on them.

“I know what they put into it themselves, and I know if the release valve isn’t tearing into a big session, if it’s a little slower than that, it may be better.

“Letting them have two days once they behave is fine, and they do behave. I remember Gary Neville saying that sometimes in that socialising different friendships can form, fellas can relax.

“That’s not to promote a drink culture, which we don’t do, but at the same time we don’t have a big drink ban either. We let them drive that but they’re so keen to do well that that’s not a problem.

“I’d probably be a bit looser on them now. But it’s always easier to be loose with them when they’ve won a game.”

The reward for defeating Clare is a final showdown with Tipperary on Sunday. Staging the game in Limerick rather than the traditional environs of Thurles has prompted debate.

“We took upon it ourselves to work out what was best for us as a team this year, though,” revealed McGrath.

“We’d think that a Munster final should be in a neutral ground, that that’s an absolute entitlement. If Cork were available then it’d be a no-brainer, the game would just be on there.

“But there’s also the thing where Waterford people just have it in their heads that there’s going to be a bottleneck going into or coming out of Limerick.

General view of the Gaelic Grounds Ryan Byrne / INPHO The Gaelic Grounds will host Sunday's game. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

“I’ve been meeting people in Waterford who are saying, ‘I hope the game is in Thurles, you know what the traffic is like in Limerick’.

“I just think that the more you say something, the more it becomes ingrained in people’s minds. My view would be to concentrate on getting into Limerick early and worry about getting out after.

“At least it all got settled quickly, and fair dues to the county board, they were very supportive of us in doing that. The rumour mill often gets out of hand, and last year there was a lot of talk about Waterford selling their soul to go to Thurles.

“In fairness, Paddy Joe (Ryan, chairman of the Waterford County Board) and the lads put absolutely no pressure on us to go to Thurles, certainly not for financial reasons.

“People have forgotten that Tipperary went to Limerick last year and hammered the life out of Limerick, so it’s not a matter of discommoding them.

“If we lose to Tipperary it’ll only be the small-minded who’ll point to the venue as the reason for losing.”

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