Waterford’s Padraic Mahony says it is time for the Déise hurlers to front-up and accept responsibility for their performances, claiming the panel have been too willing to allow manager Derek McGrath shoulder much of the recent criticism levelled at the group.
Waterford were relegated from Division 1A of the league this spring, exiting the Munster championship off the back of a comprehensive 0-28 to 0-14 replay defeat to Cork last month.
Mahony, a past pupil of De La Salle Waterford, won Harty and Croke Cup medals under McGrath in 2008 and laments the squad’s failure to carve out a substantial victory since McGrath took the senior reins last November.
“I’d only have massive, massive respect for Derek. He’s brought the same enthusiasm to the senior team that he had back with the school. He’s very, very professional and leaves no stone unturned. I think it’s about time the players stood up and started giving a bit back to him because he’s been working away all year and has taken a lot of criticism when it’s the players that should have been taking it. Hopefully we can reward him with a win on Saturday,” asserted Mahony.
“The 30 players in training see the work that’s going on and it’s a joy to be a part of because the set-up is so professional. The way it’s gone it’s a seven-days-a-week thing. It’s your life and we’re all delighted to be part of it with Derek and with Waterford.”
The Waterford forward revealed there was a “bad vibe” in the county following the heavy defeat to Cork, accepting the contest should have been wrapped up first day out, the Déise letting slip a nine-point advantage on the home stretch.
“People felt we would have thrown it away. We know ourselves that we let it slip and would be the first to criticise ourselves. We had to look at ourselves after the Cork game. We didn’t prepare the same way for the replay as we did the first day. The first day we were going out there to give it everything. Maybe we were over-confident the second day having been nine-points up and in the driving seat the first day.
“Maybe the criticism was a bit much from outside, but you have to handle what’s thrown your way. Look, that’s done and dusted now. It’s in the past. We had a good win against Laois. Went about that in a professional manner and got the result. Now we’re just worried about Wexford.
“This weekend is do or die for Waterford. It’s knockout championship. We’d put pressure on ourselves this weekend because we have to deliver and it’s about time we did deliver because over the last three or four years we haven’t been happy with our performances. We’ve been knocking on the door and hurling well for 50 or 60 minutes without getting over the line. It’s time we started turning good performances into victories.”
Mahony doesn’t believe Wexford will be hindered by the 160-minute effort required to see off All-Ireland champions Clare, expressing concern at the momentum Liam Dunne’s side garnered from their victory last Saturday.
“To be honest, Wexford are coming into the weekend with great momentum. I think they’ll have a slight advantage. Beating the All-Ireland champions, they are going to be coming in full of confidence. We just have to make sure we’re right for Saturday.
“We are hoping the younger lads can drive it on.”
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