Davy Fitzgerald feels that a league title matters to all inter county teams.
His Waterford side dug out a dramatic draw with Dublin before a 3,800 capacity crowd in Dungarvan despite playing with thirteen men for the last sixteen minutes.
He dismissed Anthony Daly's comment in hiscolumn on Saturday that "our second most important inter-county medal now seems to contain as much value as a loose €2 coin."
During his post-match interview, Fitzgerald was asked about the merits of the league.
"I think you could see with myself and Micheál Donoghue today – and we’ve both won All-Irelands as managers – I don’t think we were treating that lightly outside there. I don’t think any of the managers I saw over the weekend, be it John Kiely last night or Pat Ryan, were treating it lightly. We’re trying hard. Are we going to expose more players than we would in championship? Yeah. But the games are competitive.
"I’ve yet to see teams going out saying ‘Ah we’ll just try out twenty players.' We wanted to win that. They wanted to win that. Limerick and Cork… Limerick mightn’t have had their full squad out, but they were absolutely bursting to win that last night the same as Cork were. So that’s fine. I suppose people have to write something. I’m not saying it’s the be-all and end-all.
"There was one stupid comment I heard that it’s the same as a two euro coin. You win a National League….I didn’t win one, I’d love to have won one. It’s not the same as an All-Ireland, it’s not the same as a Munster. Probably coming after that, it isn’t bad. And I wouldn’t devalue what the boys did last year, fair play to them. So someone making a comment like that is pretty stupid, especially probably that they never won one themselves.”
A 77th minute free from Dónal Burke gave Dublin a share of the spoils. The visitors trailed by eight points after twelve minutes but two Cian O'Sullivan goals got them back level by the break.
"It’s no more than we’ve seen over the past few weeks with them," remarked manager Micheál Donoghue.
"They’re a really good bunch to work with and good hurlers and training has gone well for us. After 10 minutes and you’re looking at 1-5 with a black card and it wasn’t looking good.
"We had a few chances to maybe narrow the deficit but once we got to grips with what they were doing and imposed our own game, we came back into it. It could have gone either way towards the end but after ten minutes if you had said would you take a draw, I’d have taken a draw.”
Déise defender Jack Fagan was dismissed with seventeen minutes left. His black card foul on the impressive Cian Boland led to a red and Burke fired the Dubs in front for the first time from the penalty spot.
Stephen Bennett scored 2-7 from dead balls, including two penalties, before he was dismissed on 61 minutes for striking out at Paddy Doyle in front of the Dublin dugout.
Fitzgerald expressed his frustration to linesman Colm Lyons.
"The Stephen one, they were saying there was an altercation. Your man did whatever and Stephen pushed back and caught him high. The thing I can't figure out is why wasn't the first thing punished where their player came into it as well. I'll deal with my stuff and there might be something to deal with. I think Colm (Lyons) has to look at the two sides. Before the incident actually happened, he was pulled.
"I've no problem with what happened but he was pulled, a hundred and ten per cent. We've got to look at everything. Will we complain about the sendings off? No. If they're sendings off, they're sendings off. We take our medicine, we deal with it, that's the way it goes."
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Waterford went two points up two minutes into injury time. Substitute Austin Gleeson nailed three frees while Jamie Barron and Jack Prendergast landed beauties from both sidelines.
Eoghan O'Donnell and Burke pegged them back. On 75 minutes, Gleeson supplied Micheal Kiely from a quick free before Burke equalised.
"People have doubted these boys' character. It's been questioned over the last year. We were down to thirteen men against fifteen for X amount, they didn't put us to the sword and we were the team fighting to win that game. We were on the attack. I'm seriously proud of them. I know there's seven or eight lads that think they're going to be coming back for championship. I want them to fight to get back into that team."
Dangerous Dublin forward Cian O'Sullivan came off at the break with a hamstring injury. Replacement Ronan Hayes only lasted six minutes as he also departed with a hamstring problem.
Alex Considine, who caused Conor Prunty problems, left due to a blood injury. Déise defender Iarlaith Daly didn't start due to a broken finger and Fitzgerald confirmed that he will be out for four or five weeks.
S Bennett 2-7 (2-0 pens, 7fs), A Gleeson 0-4 (3fs), J Barron, T Barron, M Kiely 0-2 each, J Fagan, J Prendergast 0-1 each.
D Burke 1-7 (5fs, 1-0 pen), C O'Sullivan 2-0, C Boland 0-3, A Considine 0-2, C Donohoe, C Burke, J Flanagan, E O'Donnell 0-1 each.
S O'Brien; C Gleeson, C Prunty, S McNulty; J Fagan, C Lyons, D Lyons; M Harney, P Leavey; R Halloran, J Barron, M Kiely; K Mahony, T Barron, S Bennett.
C Daly for D Lyons (17), A Gleeson for Halloran (49), D Hutchinson for Mahony (49), J Prendergast for Leavey (56), P Curran for T Barron (75).
S Brennan; J Bellew, E O'Donnell, P Doyle; C Donohoe, C Burke, D Gray; F Whitely, C O'Leary; J Flanagan, D Keogh, C Boland; D Burke, C O'Sullivan, A Considine.
R Hayes for O'Sullivan (HT), P Crummey for Hayes (41), J Madden for Keogh (45), C Costello for Flanagan (55), A Jamieson-Murphy for Considine (Blood, 59), R Smith for Whitely (73).
L Gordon (Galway)