Brian Lohan’s pupilsmanaged to limit the damage against the elements to two points and kicked on after Jonathon Glynn glanced to the net three minutes into the second-half.
Seventeen wides reflected the struggles of the home side in front of the posts and their persistent issues in converting placed balls. By comparison, an economical UL only missed three and Tommy Heffernan was faultless on frees.
McGrath was frank in his post-match judgement. “We just didn’t turn up at all and we have a lot of work to do obviously.”
He detected edginess in their play. “Lads were probably over trying things and trying to implement the short game and we made handling errors and things like that. I wouldn’t put it down to bad attitude; it was maybe more down to just over trying in actual fact and not relaxing in terms of the hurling.”
Waterford called on nine forwards over the 70 but only Maurice Shanahan managed to score from play after a wait of 54 minutes. “There was no penetration and we didn’t really create any openings in terms of goal opportunities,” the new bainsteoir conceded.
The home side were 0-6 to 0-4 ahead at half time after failing to capitalise on the weather forces in their favour. They accumulated nine wides. Shane O’Sullivan pinged over two corkers from 65 metres with Jamie Nagle and Kevin Moran also delivering from distance.
Maurice Shanahan added two frees in an attack that was outhustled for the most part. The UL puckout struggled to reach 30 metres, yet they sprayed the sliotar around smartly. Captain Padraic Walsh was omnipresent at wing back and Jonathon Glynn offered a nuisance factor at number 14. Their scores came through three frees from substitute Tommy Heffernan and one from Tom O’Brien who was forced off.
That fragile two point advantage for the hosts evaporated on 38 minutes when Glynn tipped home Brian Stapleton’s dangerous delivery. Centre-forward Stapleton and Walsh ran the show as the students stretched five points in front (1-8 to 0-6) entering the last quarter. Philip Mahony and Michael Walsh did try to engineer a recovery plan from the half back line but Waterford only had four Maurice Shanahan points to show for their second-half efforts.
Victorious manager Brian Lohan was impressed by how they weathered the first-half storm while acknowledging that Waterford’s shooting woes boosted their hopes. “We have got smart guys and guys who are well able to hurl. In those sort of conditions, you want to keep the ball for as long as you can and we did that fairly well in the first-half. Waterford missed an awful lot of scores and an awful lot of frees and that helped us as well.”
UL progress to meet WIT in the quarters at the same venue while McGrath is already planning to fill the month long gap to the league opener against Tipperary.
“We are playing Offaly on Tuesday night in Tinryland and we have another game lined up for the weekend. Just plenty of games and plenty of gametime and that’s what we need. We have a huge amount of work to do but we are not too despondent. We will talk about it inside and get to the end of it.”
Scorers for UL: T Heffernan 0-5 (5fs); J Glynn 1-0; B Stapleton 0-2; M O’Neill, M Ryan, P Walsh, T O’Brien (f) 0-1 each.
Scorers for Waterford: M Shanahan 0-6 (5fs); S O’Sullivan 0-2; J Nagle, K Moran 0-1 each.
UL: S Hassett (Tipperary); M Carmody (Limerick), J Sheehan (Cork), J Browne (Clare); D Quinn (Tipperary), D Morrissey (Limerick), P Walsh (Kilkenny); B Maher (Tipperary), T Ryan (Limerick); C Malone (Clare), B Stapleton (Tipperary), T O’Brien (Limerick); J Forde (Tipperary), J Glynn (Galway), E Murphy (Waterford).
Subs: T Heffernan (Tipperary) for O’Brien (10); M Ryan (Limerick) for Murphy (42); M O’Neill (Clare) for Forde (46); P Ryan (Tipperary) for Quinn (55).
WATERFORD: S O’Keeffe; S Fives, B Coughlan, T Bourke; Philip Mahony, M Walsh, K Moran; S O’Sullivan, J Nagle; J Dillon, S Walsh, R Barry; R Donnelly, M Shanahan, J Barron.
Subs: S Molumphy for Barry (H-T); I O’Regan for O’Keeffe (H-T); Pauric Mahony for Donnelly (43); S Roche for Barron (47).
Referee: C McAllister (Cork).