Noel Connors hails ‘incredible steel’ displayed by maturing Waterford in Kilkenny win

Waterford defender Noel Connors paid tribute to his teammates for the “incredible amount of steel” they showed against Kilkenny last Sunday.

The Cats were a point down with time almost up but Waterford kept them at bay for the win, and Connors said: “This is probably a new mentality that we are trying to bring forward, it that was a couple of years ago it would have probably been the opposite, and Kilkenny would have stuck on another point or two. But there’s an incredible amount of steel in this team and you can see with the college lads that a lot of them are at that level.”

Connors impressed on Kilkenny danger man Richie Hogan.

“I suppose it was the battle of the tall fellas in the corner at times!” said Connors. “It’s the likes of Richie you want to challenge yourself against and I think Richie has been the most inspirational person to look at in the last number of years. He’s probably been one of the most consistent players Kilkenny or any other team has had and if you get the opportunity to mark someone of his status and his skill, you kind of relish it.”

Waterford meet Tipperary next weekend with the All- Ireland champions hammering Dublin in Croke Park on Saturday night.

Connors though wasn’t taking notes on the tie: “I wouldn’t be a massive person for watching other games. Saturday was just one of those nights where I just chilled out and didn’t do a whole lot. I’d watch the Discovery Channel or something like that to take the pressure off the game (against Kilkenny)”

The Passage man stressed the need for performances from Waterford in the league this year.

“I don’t think that you can say that you are after being successful if you win a few matches and you beat the likes of Kilkenny and so on,” said Connors.

“I think it’s more about getting young lads in, the likes of Conor Gleeson getting more game time and the likes of Shane Bennett improving on their performances in the last number of years.

“The likes of Paddy Curran and Tom Devine are really showing what they are about and putting their shoulder to the wheel, because they are the young lads for the future, and I think that’s something we can’t disregard and put on the back burner for a few years to come.”

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