Austin Gleeson ready for a new test after league heroics

Austin Gleeson has an appointment with an exam paper tomorrow morning, so the Waterford defender may have to put celebrating the county’s NHL title win on hold for a few days.

Gleeson chipped in with two great points on Sunday but it was back to the books yesterday.

“I have an exam this morning so I had to study yesterday,” he said..

“We’re back with the clubs for two weeks and then we’ll drive on again and hopefully get the same result in five weeks’ time. Please God it works out for us.”

Gleeson has rejected claims the Déise are a defensive side, saying their approach is based on “pure workrate” above all.

“Everyone was saying we were defensive but to be honest, we’re not.

“It’s just pure workrate out of all of us and that is getting us where we are.

“Brick (Michael Walsh), last year he was centre-back and midfield and he was thrown up at wing forward this year and he doesn’t care. He’s just there for the team and it’s the same for everyone. It’s all team, it’s no individual. It’s heart and togetherness.”

Waterford’s workrate and fitness have been remarked upon by many observers, and Gleeson was quick to give credit to the backroom team for their work with the players over the last few months.

“Fergal (O’Brien) has been great coming in, no disrespect to Keith Hennessy who was with us last year. He was also very good, but the way Fergal has us we’re bouncing off the ground. It’s working for us so far.

“The first couple of nights (back training), everyone in the dressing room was blowing. There were fellas stepping out and getting sick, as expected, in pre-season.

“But after a couple of weeks, because it was so hard, everyone took to it. It worked for us and it is still working for us.”

The support is rowing in behind Waterford, particularly when compared to some of the crowds during their early league games, such as the opening fixture against Limerick.

“Waterford is kind of down and it’s lot of money for parents if a family of four people are going — that’s nearly €200 for the day, like, between tickets, petrol, food, everything. It takes a lot but thankfully they’re starting to get behind us again.

“After last year, we’re happy that they’re getting behind us again.

“Last year we just weren’t ourselves. As Paudie (Mahony) said during the week, we were fed up with ourselves. We didn’t know what was going on.

“It was Derek (McGrath)’s first year and he was seeing where he was taking us. With Fintan (O’Connor) coming in this year, he’s been great as well. We’re happy with the way things are going.

“We’ll just take it in our stride and drive on for Cork in five weeks.

“At the start of the year, we probably deserved to be ninth favourites, the way we were going after last year. But in November we said we’ll have a go at it and see where it takes us.

“We never thought this would happen but in the back of our minds we knew we were as good as anyone in the country.”

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