Derek McGrath future unclear as ‘Brick’ Walsh takes centre stage

Derek McGrath will take time to reflect before making a call on whether or not he’ll remain on as Waterford manager.

McGrath hinted earlier this year that this would be his fifth and final season, but was non-committal on the subject of his own future when the issue was broached yesterday.

“I have and I haven’t [thought about my own future]. Everything I have done this year is pointed towards what’s happening at the end of the year, complete immersion on everyone’s behalf, team and management.

The last few weeks… not going to say they changed my mind but I was just conscious today of giving Brick centre-stage, giving the team centre-stage.

“I don’t have a story for you today on it. Will give myself some time, talk to my family.” One man we won’t be seeing with Waterford in 2019 is Michael Brick Walsh. Now the record holder for all-time championship appearances, 74, Walsh was withdrawn to a standing ovation having just set up Tommy Ryan for the Waterford goal.

“We were pulling him before then. A classic,” McGrath continued.

“Look, when you think about Waterford, you think about John Treacy, Sean Kelly, John O’Shea. Great Waterford people. And when you think of the hurling, you think of Ken McGrath, Tony Browne, Philly Grimes. But for me, he stands right up there with all of them, just for his pure humility and his warrior-like qualities, but also for his guile and his cunning. He doesn’t get enough respect and credit for that.

“He’s just a fantastic person to share a dressing-room with. And you know, he could go again.” With their championship course already run, McGrath said his overriding emotion at the performance his players churned out was that of “absolute pride”.

“It has been the most difficult week of our lives, in terms of preparation. We only met on Monday in Clonea and we didn’t meet again until Friday. They had a week to stew on it, they all did.

“To see the reaction on Friday night in training and to produce a performance like that, it is a very proud moment for us the management and for the players themselves, albeit not to get over the line.

“They were fatigued by the end of it. We were out on our feet and Cork were kind of coming at the right time. They got their goal at a crucial time. After that, we were fighting on our backs to kind of maintain a certain equilibrium in the game. We did that and then we made a couple of errors at the end to hand Cork a couple of points. That was only natural given the amount of energy that had been expended in the seventy-seven minutes.” The Waterford manager apologised to Jake Dillon who he admitted shouldn’t have been taken off in the second period, revealing there had been miscommunication over an apparent injury picked up by the half-forward.

“It is just a litany of ill-luck in terms of the injuries we picked up. There was miscommunication on the Jake one. It didn’t look as bad as we thought so we owe Jake a big apology there in terms of our own approach.”



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