Dan Shanahan admits that Waterford’s Munster final collapse against Tipperary was “embarrassing” — but revealed that the players have delivered an “outstanding” response since then.
And Déise selector Shanahan believes that Waterford may have been sucked into local media hype ahead of the provincial decider, which they lost by 21 points.
And Shanahan, who revealed a clean bill of health before next Sunday’s All-Ireland SHC quarter-final against Wexford, is confident that Waterford will deliver a big response at Semple Stadium.
He said: “They’ve been outstanding. It was tough to take, embarrassing, but we dealt with it, like the Clare defeat in the league final. We parked it straight away and got back on the road. We trained on that Tuesday night and it was unbelievable.
“The U21 success brought another bit of cheer to the underage lads, we had a lot of lads on the senior panel that night. It’s been very good.”
Five players who featured in the senior loss to Tipperary — Conor Gleeson, Austin Gleeson, Tom Devine, Patrick Curran, and Shane Bennett — recovered to produce impressive displays in the Munster U21 semi-final victory over Clare. And Shanahan has installed the U21 crop as “red-hot favourites” to claim All-Ireland glory.
He said: “The U21 boys have unbelievable talent, they won the minor three years ago and are red-hot favourites for the All-Ireland, and rightly so.”
For Waterford, that U21 blitz of the Banner County at Walsh Park was a welcome lift for the county following the senior mauling at the Gaelic Grounds three days before.
And Shanahan said: “Maybe there was too much expectation from the Waterford public, being honest with you, from the local media, local papers and stuff like that.
“We nearly got sucked into it a bit too much but Tipp were outstanding on the day, absolutely brilliant.
“They got breaks to win the game but they really did do to us what we wanted to do to them. But that’s the way hurling goes. I dealt with it as a player before and my experience is good for the boys. We’re back on the horse and hopefully our luck will change next Sunday.
“It’s been noted that we got to the final of the first competition (league), the final of the Munster championship and now we’re at the quarter-final stage of the main prize.
“Waterford, like all teams, are three games away from being All-Ireland champions but we’re not looking past Sunday. It will be a hell of a battle and in the league quarter-final we beat Wexford by a point. They beat us in Nowlan Park two years ago and have 10 to 13 of those lads still involved. They know what it’s like to win big games against Waterford.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved