Lyons able to turn long lay-off into positive for Déise

Waterford minor hurling boss Derek Lyons is no advocate of the Munster championship structure.

Lyons able to turn long lay-off into positive for Déise

In fairness, what manager would champion a system which rewards a team for winning their first round encounter with an 11-week lay-off?

Lyons, however, welcomed the lengthy reprieve afforded to his side in the wake of their opening round victory over Clare back in April. An overcrowded sick bay added to a dozen dual players would have made for a very difficult back door trip.

“Our circumstances this year meant the break really helped us,” said Lyons.

“If we had lost to Clare and were then forced to go out on successive weeks against Kerry and Tipperary, I am not sure we would still be in the championship. I really don’t know if we would have a semi-final to look forward to. The structure is difficult and I don’t know how you solve it, but for sure the break suited us because of injuries and the number of players doubling up.

“It allowed the 12 dual players the chance to play both codes. There wouldn’t be too many counties pro-active in making players available to play both codes.”

And while critical of the lay-off afforded to both Waterford and Limerick, Lyons said it would have been commonsense to push back the semi-finals by at least one week to allow hurlers fresh from completing the Leaving Cert sufficient time to resharpen body and mind.

“If they are going to sideline us for 11 weeks, why not 12 weeks? I think it is hugely difficult for a player sit exams and then, as is the case for two of our lads, within five days of finishing their last exam be expected to play a Munster semi-final.

“Why not push out the date of the semis by a week and give counties a chance to freshen up after the exams?”

The Déise’s first round conquests, having safely travelled the back roads, now block their path to a second successive Munster final appearance. The All-Ireland champions show five changes in personnel and 12 positional switches from their quarter-final meeting in Cusack Park. Lyons accepts a repeat performance simply won’t cut it.

“We were poxed that night. We didn’t play well, we simply didn’t turn up. Clare had scoring opportunities which they didn’t take and that kept us in the game. We were three points down with seven minutes to go and we shouldn’t have even been in the game at that stage. Realistically they should have been eight or nine points up. It gave us a lifeline. We made one or two tweaks and it had the desired effect. We got a goal at the right time and it rocked Clare.

“Clare will be using that defeat as a motivational tool. All I can say is that Clare will not be facing the same Waterford team they played back in April. They are facing the strongest team we can put out. We are at full strength now which we weren’t the last time. If they think they are coming down to take on the same team they should have beaten in Ennis I would fear for them.”

WATERFORD: B Nolan; E Hayden, MJ Sutton, M Cronin; C Prunty, C Roche, J Mullaney; D Lyons, A Molumby; S Bennett, C Gleeson, C Curran; P Hogan, A O’Sullivan, P Curran.

CLARE: J Loughnane; C Cooney, S Downey, R Hayes; B O’Gorman, D Walsh, D McCarthy; M O’Malley, D Fitzgerald; C Corbett, M O’Shea, I Galvin; P McNamara, A Shanagher, B Guilfoyle.

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