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'Waterford have cracked a code where they are able to play it both ways'

Anthony Nash sees a big mental switch in Stephen Bennett’s approach.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

WATERFORD’S CONVINCING WIN over Cork last Saturday was another timely reminder of what Liam Cahill is building, according to All-Star goalkeeper Anthony Nash.

Stephen Bennett hit 2-11 in Semple Stadium as Waterford claimed the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 title for the first time since 2015.

Speaking on the latest hurling episode of The42′s GAA Weekly podcast, Nash pointed to the transformation of the Déise sharpshooter in recent years.  

“We played against Bennett and the lads. At times Bennett and (Austin) Gleeson, two of their marquee players, were not fit. Bennett was carrying weight after injuries and we were lucky the two years we played them they were out of Munster in the round-robin both times.

“Bennett was having jokes with us down the Páirc. A carefree guy. There is a big mental switch. He is fit now. Austin Gleeson is exceptionally fit now.”

 

Cork had more shots than Waterford 43 to 31, but struggled to convert or score goals. Nash explained the reason for this is twofold.

“Cork are a counter-attacking team. They are like Waterford. They send huge numbers back and then they spring and explode with raw pace. They feed off chaos. The reason Limerick caused Cork problems last year is because they are so structurally sound. 

“Their half-back line is not going to go up after you too far. They always have five defenders outside, cutting out long delivery and if you run at them you are running at a body.

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“Waterford do something different. They run with you and stay with your pace. That is the reason Cork can’t create as many goal-scoring opportunities against them. That moment in the second half when Conor Cahalane is running through, normally he gets away from his man there and they have an overlap.

“When you are a counter-attacking team, you need overlaps for goals. You can’t have overlaps when three Waterford fellas are chasing you back the field. The shot creation becomes a point instead of the pass inside. 

“Then, If you have ball 70 yards out and normally you ping a diagonal ball to Horgan, but Tadgh de Burca is standing in front, that creates another issue. Your delivery has to be longer and higher. 

“Waterford have cracked a code where they are able to play it both ways right now.” 

To listen to the full episode, go to members.the42.ie.

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Maurice Brosnan

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