Waterford GAA chiefs have placed their faith in Derek McGrath by handing the county’s senior hurling team manager a three-year extension in the role.
The move was rubberstamped at a county board meeting last night and means that if McGrath remains in charge until the end of the new agreement, the De La Salle clubman will be in situ until the end of the 2019 campaign.
He had one year left to run but Déise top brass have moved to ensure continuity for the foreseeable future by topping him up with three more seasons.
McGrath took over from Michael Ryan after the 2013 championship and while Waterford struggled last year, they made significant progress in 2015.
Having suffered relegation to Division 1B of the Allianz Hurling League during his first year in charge, McGrath ensured a swift return to the top flight by masterminding promotion.
Not content with that, Waterford went on to claim League honours outright for just the third time in the county’s history, with victory over Cork in the Semple Stadium final in May.
Five weeks later, Waterford beat Cork again, this time in the Munster semi-final, before losing the provincial decider against Tipperary. They regrouped to beat Dublin in the All-Ireland quarter-final before falling to champions Kilkenny in the semi-final.
Meanwhile, a new Cork senior football manager is unlikely to be appointed at tonight’s county board meeting, though a committee to find the next hurling boss is set to be put in place.
At last month’s meeting — the first since Brian Cuthbert stepped down as football manager following the All-Ireland SFC loss to Kildare — a committee consisting of county chairman Ger Lane, secretary Frank Murphy and former Cork players John Coleman, John O’Driscoll, and Nicholas Murphy was established, charged with seeking out a replacement.
While that process is ongoing, with the committee believed to be working from a shortlist of Ronan McCarthy, John Cleary, Ephie Fitzgerald, and Ned English, it is unlikely to be finalised, according to Lane.
“I would think that it’s unlikely that that would be done in time,” he said.
“Things are still happening with regard to that and we’d prefer to go through them properly rather than rushing them.”
Since the last meeting four weeks ago, hurling manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy resigned after four years in his role. The committee to find his successor will be put before the board at the meeting — which takes place at the Nemo Rangers complex at 8.30pm — assuming that the county executive gives its approval when it meets beforehand. As with the football, it is expected that three former players will join two members of the executive.
“The football committee was met with general approval,” Lane said.
“People were happy to see former players of note involved and I would imagine that it would be something similar for the hurling committee, assuming of course that it is passed by the executive and then the board.
“It’s important to begin that process to find a new manager.”
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