Derek McGrath hails players’ resilience

While expressing disappointment with referee Diarmuid Kirwan’s decision to award Tony Kelly an equalising free deep in stoppage time, Waterford boss Derek McGrath hailed the resilience of three men who carried personal grief into yesterday’s Allianz Hurling League Division 1 final.

Waterford players Patrick Curran and Jamie Barron, as well as Clare selector Louis Mulqueen, are mourning the loss of loved ones at the present time.

Curran buried his godfather, who was also his uncle, while Barron’s grandmother will be buried this morning.

A minute’s silence before the game also included mention of the sad passing of Mulqueen’s mother.

McGrath reflected: “Patrick Curran had to bury his godfather and he went out and gave a performance like that, similarly Jamie Barron will bury his grandmother in the morning and Louis Mulqueen… it encapsulated everything that is right in the GAA.

“And I am just very proud, believe it or not. I am not angry, I am not annoyed, ironically, I am just very proud. It was tough to take as well so it is a mixture of emotions.”

When asked if was infuriated with Kirwan’s decision not to award Barron a free, seconds before handing Kelly the chance to level, McGrath replied: “Yeah, I thought it was a mistake.

“But as I said previously, we make many mistakes on the line ourselves and any referee is entitled to make a mistake.

“And that is my honest opinion on it. I actually thought the (Kelly) free was wide on top of that, but it probably wasn’t.

“Clare came at the right time. For the majority of the game, I wouldn’t say we were in control because it was a good game, and there were elements of our play which we delighted with,” he said.

“I thought it was a mistake but I will qualify that by saying we make several mistakes on the line and on the field ourselves and I don’t think any referee goes out to make a deliberate mistake.”

McGrath added: “I thought we played well and that our effort was totally heroic.

“It was a difficult week for Louis Mulqueen losing his mam, difficult week for Jamie, losing his grandmother, and Patrick.

“I was at a funeral yesterday and Patrick was carrying the coffin of his uncle, and to go out and perform like that… there was a lot of stuff to put it in perspective on whether you win or lose.”


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