Waterford star John Mullane insists there is “a great mood in the camp” despite their troubled start to the season.
Michael Ryan’s side slumped to three heavy consecutive defeats in the Allianz League and last week were rocked by the departure of two selectors from the management team within a four-day period. The situation was then exacerbated by a row over the provision of gear to panel members.
However, Mullane, who made his 2012 League return in last weekend’s victory away to Galway believes a corner has been turned by the side.
Mullane said: “To be fair to Michael, we were after having an awful lot of injuries and the likes of myself and Eoin Kelly weren’t around either. But we’re back in now.”
Victory away to high-flying Galway was a double bonus. Not alone has it ended Waterford’s miserable run of form but the win gives them everything to play for against Dublin in Fraher Field tomorrow. A win over Anthony Daly’s side, a loss for Galway in Kilkenny, and Waterford would be out of the relegation zone. Already, says Mullane, the atmosphere is positive.
“I came in last week and there was a great mood in the camp. We got a great result against Galway and we look forward to his week. There’s talk of relegation and talk of going down to Division 1B, but we just can’t be thinking about that. For us it’s to continue going down the road we are going, trying out young fellas, giving a couple more lads game time and trying and get the level of performances up to the standard required at this time of year. That would give us something to build on going forward for the championship.”
And Mullane also accepted the reasoning behind the board’s decision to cut allocation of gear to their top squads.
He admitted: “With the county board it’s understandable — we’re going through a recession and they’re after tightening up their belt. I suppose the county board has to be run like a business now. They are trying to work harder to get more money in, but if we’re to continue to compete at the top level we need the full backing of the county board. They have to go down the road of having three or four fundraisers every year to bring in more money and I think the players would be open to helping out in that avenue. It’s been a difficult time but we are still only in the month of March.”
It’s a Catch-22 situation though for county boards like Waterford — to achieve success you have to invest, but at what stage does the level of investment required become too much? And yet, allow the standards to slip and you’re inviting failure.
“Absolutely. You can’t take your eye off the ball. If standards drop teams aren’t going to compete at the higher level required.
“If we want to continue to play at a high level and compete against the more traditional counties who have probably bigger financial backing and bigger resources behind them, then the less financially rich counties are going to have to continue to invest.”
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