Austin Gleeson has admitted that he wasn’t one bit perturbed by criticism of Waterford’s “stupid shooting” in the wake of last month’s league final defeat.
Gleeson has revealed that he, along with other Waterford team-mates, came in for some stick over their persistent shooting from out the field during both the drawn league final and replayed fixture.
The 20-year old said he was encouraged by manager Derek McGrath to continue to shoot freely and when he found the target after 41 seconds of yesterday’s Munster semi-final contest, his confidence simply soared.
He’d finish the first-half with 0-3 to his name and despite two early second-half wides, he’d raise a further three white flags before the finish. Probably the most important score of his 0-6 contribution was the 56th minute sideline cut on the Ryan Stand side which brought an end to a brief spell of Clare superiority that had yielded three unanswered points.
“Today, thankfully, they just seemed to go over,” said Gleeson of his impressive haul.
“It is massive for the confidence when the first one or two go over. There was enough criticism going around from a lot of people [after the league final] that there was too much stupid shooting going on. I probably done two or three of them today, but today, thankfully, they went over. We have put in a lot of work over the past couple of weeks and the players have worked on their own game. I know a lot of lads are happy with their own performances and hopefully, there is more to give.
“Derek, Dan and Fintan have given us a licence to play, to be free. We are young, we are free. We just take every game as it comes, be it a challenge, a league final or the Munster semi-final. It is working for us the last year so that is the way it is going to keep going.”
Gleeson said Waterford were “in the zone” yesterday afternoon and described it as a hugely satisfying feeling to have atoned for the league final defeat, and, in the process, secured passage to a second consecutive Munster final.
“We performed well today and it was great to get the revenge for the league final defeat. We are back where we were last year and back in an All-Ireland quarter-final, at least. We did feel like we were in the zone today.
“Even at half-time, there wasn’t much said amongst us. We were all totally zoned in because in the league final we were ahead by the same amount going in at half-time.
“Today, we held them out and that is the way we could have done it in the league final. Clare came at us big time today and we just held our own. Clare are a magnificent team and they are not done by a long shot.
“We could see them again in the latter stages. Everyone in that dressing room knows that as well.” He added: “We believe in each other. There is no one saying ‘I should be playing, they should be playing’. There were fellas dropped today and there wasn’t one word said about it. We did a mountain of training the last few weeks to get ready for today. It paid off today as fellas were still going after 65, 70 minutes.”
With their ticket back into the Munster final booked, Gleeson believes it is important they don’t repeat the mistakes of last year.
“I think we might have shown our age last year by believing too much, thinking we probably could win the game from winning the Munster semi-final. This year, we know we have a massive task on our hands, whether it be Tipperary or Limerick. We are just looking forward to it and gearing up for the next four weeks of training. We are looking forward to July 10.”
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