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'I remember walking out of the dressing room after the Limerick game and it was just total embarrassment'

Stephen Bennett was reflecting on Waterford’s victory over the Rebels in Walsh Park.

Waterford’s Stephen Bennett in action.
Waterford’s Stephen Bennett in action.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

A ONE POINT victory over Cork on Sunday helped Waterford lay some ghosts to rest from their last competitive outing at Walsh Park. 

In their final home game during a disastrous 2019 Munster round-robin campaign, the Deise suffered a heavy 2-24 to 0-10 beating to Limerick. 

They opened up Liam Cahill’s tenure with a hard-fought win against Cork in the league opener and top scorer Stephen Bennett was glad to get back to winning ways.

“I remember walking out of the dressing room after the Limerick game and it was just total embarrassment and we don’t want that to happen again,” he said.

“Look, this is our home. I know it’s only the league but we need to start winning games. You need to be winning games.

“You wouldn’t blame people for not thinking we weren’t going to win – we haven’t won a (championship) match in two years. Look, it’s only a small step. It was nice to win the game but it was disappointing to be six points down three minutes into the game and then you get to five points ahead and then back nearly level again.

“We know we have a lot to work on but we worked hard, which is always nice to see. Things will happen if you’re actually working for it. Look, it was nice to win but we got to the league final last year and you saw how the championship went so I don’t know how much you’ll read into it either.”

Waterford, who endured two winless championship summers, showed courage in how they responded to a difficult start following the concession of two early goals. 

Cahill’s first competitive outing saw four players make their debutants, with 18-year-old defender Iarlaith Daly among those to impress.

“A few lads were making their debut and they haven’t had the experience of losing so they’re confident,” said Bennett.

“Iarlaith Daly who is 18, Jack Fagan, a few fellas like that stood up and they were hurling like they were back at home. Look, it’s nice.

“You need to find one or two fellas and the only way you’re going to find out if they’re good enough is to throw them out there and see. Small steps but we know we have a lot to work on.”

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damien-cahalane-and-kieran-bennett Cork’s Damien Cahalane and Kieran Bennett of Waterford clash. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Bennett’s brother Shane has once again opted out of the set-up this season, but his other brother Kieran grabbed five points from midfield during the win.

“He had a brilliant game,” said Stephen.

“In fairness it was nice to see him go and do it. He had a great year with Ballysaggart and he’s confident. It’s tough – one bad game and another fella will stand up.

“He was brilliant today but it’s no good if he doesn’t go out next week and do the same thing. We need to push ourselves on and the panel is brilliant. We have to players to do that.”

Speaking about the new regime Tipperary native Cahill, Bennett said: “It’s tough but it’s very good. Fellas had respect for him as soon as he came in. People just wanted to see what he was about.

“They’re brilliant, in fairness, the whole lot of them. It’s a very professional set-up. Everyone is happy and they’re just trying to get onto the 26. There are lads not on the 26 this week that could be starting next week and it’s to stand up again and keep going.

“We have a lot to work on,” he added.

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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