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'That was for Derek' - Waterford star dedicates League title to boss McGrath

Noel Connors has heaped praise on Déise boss Derek McGrath following Sunday’s League win

Noel Connors hunts down Cork's Patrick Horgan in Sunday's League final
Noel Connors hunts down Cork's Patrick Horgan in Sunday's League final
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

WATERFORD star Noel Connors has dedicated Sunday’s Allianz Hurling League Division 1 title success to manager Derek McGrath.

Connors was a player with De La Salle when McGrath masterminded back-to-back Harty and Croke Cup successes for the Waterford college in 2007 and 2008.

And 2010 Allstar recipient Connors is now one of the key men that McGrath is framing his new Waterford team around.

Corner back Connors, who will celebrate his 25th birthday on Tuesday, hailed the massive turnaround in Waterford’s fortunes this year under McGrath’s stewardship.

The Déise were relegated to Division 1B last year but having gained promotion back to the top flight, they went on to claim a first Division 1 crown since 2007 with a ten-point victory over Cork on Sunday.

And Waterford’s thumping success represented a 24-point turnaround from last year’s Munster SHC quarter-final replay, which Cork won with 14 points to spare.

Connors said: “Derek came in and took a lot of flak in the last 12, even 18 months, about our performances and people being left out of the team and retirements.

“But we had a firm belief that Derek is the man and it clearly shows.

“He’s here and everyone is after rowing in behind him. It was a great feeling to be up there on the top of the stand lifting the cup there for Derek as well, more than anyone else.”

Connors also sent this brilliant tweet to Chelsea’s Eden Hazard on the weekend when the Blues were crowned Premier League champions.

But he preached caution as Waterford get their heads down for the next five weeks before locking horns again with Cork in the Munster SHC semi-final on June 7.

“Any time you win a national trophy is a great feeling. You have to realise in the back of your mind too that it’s the League.

“It’s not to be sniffed at but in five weeks time we play Cork again and that’s going to be a totally different scenario and a totally different Cork team.”

Noel Connors and Paul Guinan 22/4/2007 Noel Connors in action for De La Salle in the 2007 Croke Cup final Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Another post-match reflection from Connors is also sure to go down well with the ‘Yes’ side in the forthcoming Marriage Equality Referendum.

“This year we have a whole new outfit with a whole new perception on how to play and wear the jersey with pride, and be passionate for this Waterford crowd.

“At the end of the day we’re there for our families and it’s probably more so for your family, your girlfriend, your wives, your partners, your boyfriends, whatever it may be.

“You’re here for them and you’re representing them more so than anyone else.”

Originally published at 14.04

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About the author:

Jackie Cahill

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