Free agent Dunford has licence to roam

A system. A structure. A scheme. Many words have been used to describe Waterford’s style of play this year and yet they all sound so limited.

The interchanging between Colin Dunford and Austin Gleeson against Dublin flies in the face of the theory that the tactics Derek McGrath operates confine the duties of players.

For some games, Gleeson has simply been told to go out and hurl. Dunford has such an expansive role that there are few restrictions on him. He enters no game with a list of do’s and don’ts.

"You just go out and play the game. If you’re thinking tactics you’re just going to be bogged down. As Derek says a lot, you’re just going to be like a robot so that’s not the way that we want to be playing.

"It’s great that you have that in the team that so many players can play in the backs, can play in the forwards - it’s a brilliant headache for the lads to have in terms of the team selection."

He credits physical trainer Fergal O’Brien with preparing the players to play in a such a way. "Fergal was absolutely brilliant, he knows what he’s at and he’s after getting us all into peak condition. Without him, we wouldn’t be able to play the game that we’re playing this year."

Dunford, though, acknowledges that it can be taxing given the amount of yardage he covers per game. "It’s tiring enough but look, I enjoy it. I like the role I get to play so I can be anywhere around the field. I can pop up in the forwards, I can pop up around the middle so it’s a lovely role to play."

His Carlow IT manager DJ Carey reckons his best position is in midfield and who is Dunford to argue with one of the game’s greats? 

"I like (midfield) but at the end of the day as long as I’m playing, I’m happy, so I’ll play anywhere. It’s not just about scoring any more. You’re the first line of defence once you lose the ball so you just have to be working. You can’t stop when you don’t have the ball, you need to be running, keeping your man thinking. It’s a tough role but, look, we’re all enjoying it at the minute."


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