Waterford hurler Eoin Kelly admits he and his team-mates are hoping to put recent disruptions behind them and build on Sunday’s Allianz Hurling League win over Galway.
The Déise went into the game in Salthill last weekend under a cloud, given their run of defeats and the resignation of selector Nicky Cashin on Thursday, but they put their travails behind them with a fine two-point win over their hosts.
The surprises didn’t end there either, with selector Br Philip Ryan stepping down in the aftermath of the win.
“That was a surprise,” said Kelly. “I haven’t been involved for the last couple of months that closely, so I couldn’t say if things were going well or not. I suppose losing three games in-a-row (to Cork, Kilkenny and Tipperary) wouldn’t reflect that well, but it was still a bit of a shock when Br Ryan said he’d be stepping down. He’s a very good hurling coach, that doesn’t change if it didn’t work out between him and Waterford. I think all the players would wish him the best in the future.”
Kelly says he and his team-mates hope the narrow win away to the Tribesmen can be a turning point in their season.
“It was great to get the win, obviously, it was badly needed,” said Kelly, who came on as second-half substitute.
“We had some heavy losses in the previous games and I suppose people had us relegated already, but the ball’s in our court to an extent now.
“If we can beat Dublin next weekend and Galway lose (to Kilkenny) we should be okay.
“You have to remember it’s a long season. Fair enough, losing three on the bounce isn’t a help, but one win nearly turns the whole thing around. That’s how tight the league is — next weekend every team has something to play for, practically, but you wouldn’t know that from the way people were talking about Waterford in the last couple of weeks.”
It was Kelly’s first game since being dropped by Ryan in a widely publicised move at the start of the season.
“There was a lot made of that and to be honest I’d prefer to put it behind me now,” said Kelly.
“I kept working away on the programme I had and was happy enough with how that went, though obviously you’d prefer to be training with the rest of the lads. I feel pretty fit though I’ve a bit to do yet, but it was good to get on last Sunday and get a touch of the ball.”
Next Sunday it’s Dublin, who are in relegation trouble themselves.
“They’re under pressure but we know ourselves how that can drive a team on, and Dublin won’t have any fear of us. Anthony Daly will have them well prepared and they have plenty of good players coming through, like Danny Sutcliffe.
“It’ll be a tough battle but at least we have something to play for ourselves, surviving in the top flight. It should be a fair game.”
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