WHEN DEREK MCGRATH opted to stay on as Waterford manager last winter, he acknowledged that the original plan had been for 2017 to be his final season.
That led to a general expectation that the current campaign would signal the end of his tenure, but after yesterday’s Munster SHC loss to Cork he gave an indication that the decision is not yet set in stone either way.
“Everything I have done this year is pointed towards what’s happening at the end of the year, complete immersion on everyone’s behalf, team and management,” he said.
“I think the last few weeks…[I’m] not going to say they changed my mind but was just conscious today of giving Brick [Michael Walsh] centre-stage, giving team centre-stage.
“Not fading into the background, but just focusing on the game itself and the integrity of the competition. I said it last week, it wasn’t just lip-service, given the stories that were out there about the flippancy with which we approached the league.
“We didn’t, we geared towards the Munster championship and it went horribly wrong in a number of ways. We had a plan for the Munster championship and it still might have been the right plan if circumstances had turned out differently.
“I will give myself some time, I don’t have a story for you today on it. I’ll give myself some time, talk to my family.”
Walsh was playing a record 74th championship game and McGrath hailed his impact, while also suggesting that the Stradbally man may not be departing just yet either.
“Look, when you think about Waterford, you think about John Treacy, you think of Sean Kelly, John O’Shea, great Waterford people,” he said.
“And when you think of the hurling, you think of Ken McGrath, Tony Browne, Philly Grimes and so on but, for me, he stands right up there with all of them, just for his pure humility and his warrior-like qualities but also for his guile and his cunning as well, he doesn’t get enough respect and credit for that.
“He’s just a fantastic person to share a dressing-room, great respect. And you know, he could go again.”
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