By Eoghan Cormican
Derek McGrath has taken responsibility for the litany of injuries which derailed their Munster SHC opener, saying management may have “went a step too far” in their preparations.
Although the Waterford manager wouldn’t change one element of how they prepared for the trip to Ennis, the intensity at training, he conceded, had come back to bite them.
“The injuries we were faced with, maybe we were responsible for that ourselves. We tried to simulate championship-type intensity as much as possible in the run-up to the match and maybe, in doing that, we perhaps went a step too far.”
McGrath described as “crazy” the loss of four players to injury during yesterday’s game. Austin Gleeson and Pauric Mahony did not even make the start line, due to ankle and finger knocks, but could feature next weekend.
“It’s incumbent on us not to rush them but I’ve already talked to the two of them to say, ‘God, you might have to go next week’. Player welfare is important too, but you couldn’t write it really.
“Noel Connors was doing a very good job on Conor McGrath and then his back goes into spasm at half-time and he pulls a back muscle. Tadhg [de Búrca] looks like a collarbone issue. Barry [Coughlan] could have a broken hand.
“Darragh Fives looks like a calf issue. Like a good racehorse, he gets really primed for the event. He just went all out today and subconsciously, when we lost Tadhg, he went even more all out. But that’s the nature of championship and the carnage to assess will be difficult come the morning. Hopefully, there will be some positive x-rays.”
On an afternoon of few positives, McGrath drew solace from the manner in which his players battled to the end.
“We ended up having Ian Kenny, Shane Fives and Shane McNulty as our full-back line. We had Jamie [Barron] centre-back for five minutes. We found it hard as a management to fix everything today. You try and cover every eventuality, but you just couldn’t plan for what happened. We’re very proud of the lads in terms of staying going until the end and we’re trying to carry that message. I wouldn’t say it’ll be more difficult next week, but we’re going to be light on bodies.”
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.