‘Lingering hurt’ led to McGrath’s sweeping TV outburst

‘Lingering hurt’ led to McGrath’s sweeping TV outburst

Derek McGrath has admitted he regrets his ‘self-indulgent’ The Sunday Game comments about the sweeper system which he acknowledged made him sound bitter.

The ex-Waterford boss joined fellow analyst Dónal Óg Cusack in rejecting criticism of sweeper tactics while speaking on the show after Tipperary’s win over Wexford.

It drew a huge social media response and Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy questioned the timing of the discussion so soon after the thrilling game.

“I think I let a little bit of lingering hurt almost propel myself forwards in terms of what I was saying,” said McGrath, who received criticism for his use of a sweeper when managing Waterford.

“Was there self-indulgence? I think there was but it was based on a kind of irksome attitude.

I don’t think it was the platform for it, I let a bit of lingering hurt dictate what I was saying.

McGrath denied he is bitter about criticism of his style while managing Waterford between 2014 and 2018, though he said it did affect him.

“Not bitterness, I’d say hurt,” he said. “There is a difference I think between hurt and bitterness. Hurt kind of lodges for a while. I don’t want it to read as bitter but I’d say it did. I didn’t want it to sound bitter (on TV) but I’d say it did. I’ll learn from that.”

McGrath also spoke during The Sunday Game discussion about the amount of top inter-county players who have gone through third-level education.

“It wasn’t meant in an academically snobby way, that there is no room for a farmer or a mechanic or a guy who is doing shift work,” said McGrath, a secondary school teacher.

For me, it was more a reflection of factual information, where society has changed. I probably didn’t articulate it as well as I could have. Like, my father left school in fifth class, my mother left school in sixth class, no secondary school education.

McGrath said the general reaction to his TV comments left his head ‘hopping’ and prompted him to switch his phone off for a period.

“I wasn’t rattled by it, but I was saying, ‘Ah Jesus...’ But as I say, I’m normally a good learner.”

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