JUSTIN MCCARTHY has broken his silence on his departure as Waterford hurling manager, describing the players as “bluffers” who did not give him credit, stating it wasn’t a “f**king creche” he was running when manager in the southeast.
In a new book on Waterford hurling by RTÉ’s Damien Tiernan, ‘The Ecstasy and the Agony: The Real Story Behind Waterford Hurling’, McCarthy says his departure in 2008 was down to a lack of respect, adding that he had gone to Waterford “to help out” and that players did not give him credit for their success.
“I like the underdog and I was only going there to help out,” said McCarthy. “Players sometimes lean on the manager too much, fearing that if you leave the dressing room, their world will collapse. They have to grow up and realise they’re men.”
McCarthy added that Waterford players were “irrational” off the field.
“Some players didn’t want to give me credit for what we achieved; then they held grudges and I was left to deal with a lot of egos and personalities — a lot of bluffers.
“We had leaders on the field but a lot of irrational players off the field.
“And sometimes they blamed everyone but themselves. I won manager of the month twice and I never heard a player say ‘Well done’.
“They wouldn’t because it would give me too much credit.
“I was popular in Waterford because I respected people and I made the fans happy with the success. I never ignored a fella or the backroom staff.
“People got jealous and love to have you knocked. A friend of mine said he didn’t know how I stuck it for six months never mind six years.
“I enjoyed my time in Waterford and I never doubted the players’ enthusiasm but I don’t think they enjoyed it as much as me.
“You will always get fellas who will chance their arm, but people have to learn to grow up and do things for themselves — you can’t pamper people or they’ll go soft. Players had to grow up and learn for themselves and many didn’t.
“When people get spoiled and soft, it’s too easy to blame the teacher or the boss. It wasn’t a f**king creche we were running in Waterford.”
McCarthy describes himself as “strong mentally and spiritually” in the book.
“I travelled to Waterford night after night and I never had a lad say to me, ‘Jaysus Justin, you must be tired after all the driving’.
“I didn’t make any money with Waterford and lost valuable money in wear and tear on the car over the years.
“But Waterford won’t make or break me. I just love the game and I’m strong mentally and physically. We brought in some people to the setup but I didn’t break the bank or put pressure on the county board finances.”
The book also recounts current manager Davy Fitzgerald’s preparation of the Waterford side for the 2008 All-Ireland final against Kilkenny, which included putting black and amber jerseys on tackle bags which Waterford players punched.
Fitzgerald also gathered the Déise panel in a circle where he threw two Kilkenny jerseys on the ground, telling his players that their opponents had no respect for them. The book also outlines Fitzgerald’s instructions to certain players ahead of that final to “soften up” their opponents.
“Some lads straight away didn’t like what he said,” one player is quoted as saying.
“Eoin Murphy was one of the quieter chaps and the Prenders (Prendergasts) were the same way; it wouldn’t be in them; they wouldn’t be that type of hurler; and I’d say it definitely played on their minds.”
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