DEREK McGrath was ratified as Waterford’s new senior hurling team manager tonight.
McGrath was installed as Michael Ryan’s successor, on a three-year term.
As expected, McGrath’s impressive backroom team was confirmed tonight – and the stellar line-up helped to convince a selection sub-committee that McGrath is the man to take the county forward.
2007 Hurler of the Year Dan Shanahan is coming on board along with William Maher, Tipperary’s 1996 All-Ireland minor winning captain who managed the Premier County to minor glory last year.
Frank Flannery, coach to the Cork minors this year, is also on board, along with McGrath’s clubmate Conor McCarthy, as physio.
McGrath’s credentials are impressive in his own right, as he managed De La Salle to the Waterford SHC title in 2012.
And as manager of the De La Salle secondary school team, McGrath masterminded Harty Cup and All-Ireland (Croke Cup) successes in 2007 and 2008.
McGrath reflected: “The outside perception might be that there would be blind loyalty towards some of them but things change – I know that better than anyone in terms of hurling so yeah, there’s 14 on the panel between ‘07 and ‘08 that were involved last year but obviously panels change and things change.
"Fellas accelerate and progress between 17 and 20 – a fella can come from nowhere. But it will be a help in terms of the relationship that I have with some of those players, without a doubt. But I wouldn’t like that to conceal the fact that I could develop similar relationships with the fellas that I haven’t had in the past.”
McGrath, who described the prospect of managing the Waterford senior team as “very exciting”, also urged caution from Déise fans following All-Ireland minor glory in September.
And he also revealed how even family members advised him that it might have been better to wait for another few years, to allow a number of promising young players to emerge as U21 and senior stars.
McGrath explained: “I was a minor myself in 92, 93 and 94 and I had my worst year minor in 94. I’m aware of what can happen.
“You look at Limerick’s three U21s (All-Irelands) in a row and you look at Waterford minors in 92, you could argue that Flynner and Tom Feeney were the only two players off that team.
“You could make that argument here now, that they were the only ones that played consistently. James O’Connor, Joxer, was on that team too.
“The level of expectancy will rise in Waterford based on the minor success.
“Even talking at home to the parents, ah wait three years, there’s a better thing there in three years, that was the general outside perception, don’t go for it. Just chit chat in the privacy of your own home.”