Once it was goals; now it is wides that are held against Waterford but Derek McGrath won’t be losing the run of himself after one bad day at the office.
The Déise amassed 20 wides across the entirety of yesterday’s game to Clare’s 19, picking up 12 in the first half alone. Several came from placed balls, which may convince McGrath to hand the duties to Maurice Shanahan or Pauric Mahony the next day although Shane Bennett recovered well from some early hiccups.
McGrath won’t be losing sleep because of such profligacy. “I’d be disappointed with wides always but not overly so because you’re in possession, you have the ball in hand and you’re creating the chances. As the game progressed, if guys could take it on a bit more before they shot... I thought their shot selection was poor, it was more the thinking than the actual wides. There were opportunities to go and they didn’t go.
“But look, when you have possession you’ll have wides. You have the ball in your hand and when you do you’re in control a lot of the time. But two good teams giving it everything they have, I thought it was a good spectacle in the end.”
That said, assigning frees will require McGrath’s consideration for Sunday’s replay.
“Maybe if Maurice is available, he will want the frees. It is part of the whole process, fellas like Patrick (Curran) and Shane are exposed to that and they have to learn on a day when there is no hiding place and they are not alone in terms of missing frees.
“A lot of guys who are older and more seasoned than them have missed frees too, so we might go with them again and reinstate them. A week is a long time in sport.”
McGrath lauded Bennett for the way in which he managed to sparkle after his early free misses.
“But that is Shane, nothing fazes him as such. Shane is able to switch on and switch off, nothing affects his confidence. He is a solid lad.
“We need him again next Sunday to be better than he was again, and we need them all to be better than they were today.”
Bennett left the field with cramp as did Austin Gleeson while Shane Fives may have picked up a more serious problem. McGrath played down the seriousness of Gleeson’s problem.
“It was more a cramping issue and actual fatigue more than any injury – that’s the initial reading on it. And just tired, I suppose, out around that middle area. It is tough going and guys were putting their bodies on the line.”
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