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'I take no pleasure in being part of this Waterford team that knocked Tipperary out'

For Tipperary native and Waterford manager Liam Cahill, it was a testing day in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

WHEN HE STOOD on the Páirc Uí Chaoimh sideline afterwards, Liam Cahill simply looked content that the whole experience was over.

As Waterford manager he was delighted with his team’s rousing finish that secured the spoils in this All-Ireland quarter-final, knocking another hurling heavyweight out and propelling them towards the last four.

But as a Tipperary native, this had been a game of emotional conflict. His playing days were shaped by Tipperary and then Cahill more recently has been immersed in the county’s hurling structures, managing plenty of the current Premier senior squad to All-Ireland underage glories.

“Delighted to get over the line. Looking forward again to getting in behind the players during the week for a bit of recovery and try to get them up again. Today doesn’t make me any taller to be honest about it.

“I take no pleasure whatsoever in being part of this Waterford team that knocked Tipperary out of the championship. That I must convey out there. A lot of them fellas that played there today and on that Tipperary panel have been great warriors for me a number of years ago.

“It was a difficult place to be today but look the job had to be done and it was done and we move on now.

liam-cahill-with-liam-sheedy Liam Cahill with Liam Sheedy after the game. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“I’ve been really fortunate in Tipperary. Everything I have been about all my life has evolved around hurling; and club hurling and Tipperary hurling in particular. I love going to Tipperary matches and Tipp club matches.

“I know they wouldn’t want pity, because that’s not the type of players they are but I do feel sorry that Tipp had to exit the championship on the back of a team that I was over. I have no problems in saying that, and I think the Waterford people will understand that as well.”

The success continues a brilliant revival by Waterford after the disappointment of their provincial exit last month at the hands of Clare.

“After we exited the Munster championship, we did a lot of soul searching, we did a lot as a management team, as well, behind the scenes. We were lethargic enough that day, as well, when it came to supporting the players on the field to get them over the line, everybody put their hands up and there was massive honesty involved, and I’m just thrilled for the players in particular who put in the work that we are back in the position and have an opportunity to get back to where we’d like to go.”

On the flipside Cahill can see some ‘big decisions’ facing the Tipperary camp over the next while.

“Being a Tipperary man with my Tipp hat on, Tipperary hurling at senior level is probably at a big crossroads now, because there are a number of players there that have maybe big decisions to make over the next number of weeks.

“It’s going to take a little bit of organising and a little bit of soul searching to be done at every level; from players to maybe the powers that be that have to look at maybe rejuvenating Tipperary hurling. From the sidelines looking in, it’s been quite difficult at minor and U20 this year.

padraic-maher-and-seamus-callanan-dejected A dejected Padraic Maher and Seamus Callanan after today's game. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“But we’ve done that before in Tipp, it’s not something that we are not unaccustomed to and I think when they put the right supports around what has to happen, Tipp will be back bigger and stronger than ever and we don’t usually go away in Tipp for too long.

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“I’m not saying for a second they’ve gone away, but definitely there’s a lot of tough decisions to be made.”

Cahill is confident that Austin Gleeson will be okay suffering a knock to his knee and also praised the contribution of the Waterford bench.

“We don’t know, but I’d be very confident that it’s a knock or a bang that would be sore for a day or two, but he was able to walk off fine. He put in a massive shift again today. Austin Gleeson is really starting to mature as the all-round player. We know the spectaculars he has done down the years with the flamboyant scores but today he showed his leadership qualities.

“He is really embracing what Mikey Bevans is about and what I’m about, and I just hope that continues for him, because he deserves it. He’s a top man, a top young fella.

“We have a great panel, a brilliant group of players that hit one another really hard. Whatever about picking the team, it’s really hard to pick the 26 for each game because they’re all so different and they offer you so much.

“Today we were able to do that again with Neil Montgomery who didn’t feature the last day. Came in and gave us that little bit of impetus to get over the line. Colin Dunford near the end when you needed a bit of speed to get around the field to get them gaps filled. That’s the luxury I have. These boys are trying to work hard for me every day.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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