Here are three key changes that were the difference between losing and winning for Waterford.
Derek McGrath has routinely been asked when he’s going to set Austin Gleeson free. We’ve seen the Mount Sion man released on occasion going back to last year’s championship, albeit for only small periods. Were Gleeson’s movement tracked yesterday, it would have shown him to be active more around the middle than the full-forward line where he started but it was evident he was playing more advanced. Not only that, he was playing a cleverer game.
Although Waterford made gains from running at the Clare defence in the first half, both youngsters Shane Bennett and Patrick Curran struggled when they were opposed by David Reidy who was operating as a deep-lying midfielder cum centre-back. Indeed, it was almost as if Reidy was a more advanced sweeper, replicating Cian Dillon behind him. Reidy initiated attacks and cut out ball but Waterford were winning most of the individual battles elsewhere.
Kevin Moran hadn’t been at his brilliant best in the two league finals. The manic work-rate was still there but he lacked the finesse that has been part of his game for so much of this decade. He started yesterday doing the hard things easy and the easy things hard but stood up as captain with a couple of points around the hour mark - a time where Waterford’s character has been questioned in the past.
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