Tipperary hurler Noel McGrath at last week's launch of Acquired Brain Injury Irelands Concussion Awareness Campaign. INPHO/Donall Farmer
Championship 2012

McGrath wary of Déise backlash in Munster decider

They had seven goals to spare in last year’s provincial final but the Loughmore-Castleiney player is bracing himself for a closer battle this time around.

TIPPERARY ATTACKING STAR Noel McGrath has described the 21-point hammering that they inflicted on Waterford in last year’s Munster SHC final as a ‘freak result’ that he cannot see being repeated when the sides renew acquaintances in next Sunday’s provincial decider.

Waterford were left reeling after Tipperary struck seven goals in last July’s decider but McGrath believes they have moved firmly past that debacle and will provide a major test in the Páirc Uí Chaoimh showdown.

“That was a freak result and I think they’ve moved on from it. It’s a new year and everything has changed. They’ll be coming to get the victory and I think it’ll be a keenly contested battle, there won’t be much in it. Any day you lose you’re going to be hurt and you just want to get it out of your system and get going again. Waterford are gone a year further on now and they have got a few matches under their belt. They got a great match against Clare in the semi-final and came out with a great victory.”

Tipperary themselves are a battle-hardened force entering this match on the back of two serious examinations of their credentials by Limerick and Cork recently. Those matches have reinforced the value of the Munster championship in McGrath’s eyes and offered proof that a great bond exists in the Tipperary camp.

“All you need to do is look at the games so far and see the effort that all the teams have put in trying to get the win. They were two serious battles for us.  and a further step towards the Munster final. We’re delighted to be there and any day you get a chance to win some silverware you try and take it.

“We knew inside that we were putting the work in and doing the best we could to get the results and thankfully things have started to go well for us.  You just have to move on with it and we’re looking forward to the final now. We saw the last day players coming in off the bench making a huge difference to the thing. We’re developing as a team and you want to be on the upward graph going through the year.”

McGrath admits the return of Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher has been critical in improving the structure of Tipperary’s attack while he also praised the recent contribution of Pa Bourke with the Thurles Sarsfields man’s 0-12 haul against Cork providing further evidence that he is starting to establish himself on the senior stage.

“We all know Bonner’s game over the last few years and he’s just a serious player for us. He creates so much and puts in all the work.  You want all your best players available to you and it’s nice to have him back. We all know how good Pa is and the skill he has. IT was great to see him bringing it to the table the last day. He’s been very important to us this year throughout the league and championship.”

And McGrath also revealed that the squad have enjoyed working under new trainer Ross Dunphy this season.

“Any new man has different ideas and it’s just freshening the thing up. Ross has a lot of work done, he’s a good background and has brought things in. We’re very fit and training has been going well.”

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