Derek McGrath on 'extraordinary' Joe Schmidt and his team-talk to Waterford hurlers
Waterford manager Derek McGrath has admitted it will be difficult for his team to maintain their current levels of dedication and commitment and gave insights into the motivational techniques used during the ground-breaking campaign.
The Deise bowed out at the penultimate stage of the All-Ireland series yesterday after failing to claim a championship victory over Kilkenny for the first time since 1959.
McGrath's young side went from rank outsiders at the start of the year to genuine Liam McCarthy contenders following their surprise National League win earlier in the season, but the six-point loss was keenly felt by the man credited with introducing a highly effective defensive system and a strong work ethic to the team.
Noted for his innovative methods, McGrath said that no stone was left unturned as the Munster finalists sought to gain an edge in any possible way during the course of the season.
“Every week you’re looking for motivation, you’re looking for a different slant on preparation," he said post-match.
“We went to train in Clashmore under one light last year — not a Pat Gilroy approach but we felt that’s what we needed.
"The boys went expenses free for a certain amount of time, we had no dinners after training, all that type of thing.
“That was our approach so I’d say sustaining that would be very difficult. Not that they’re prima donnas — they’re anything but — but year two of that, year three of my tenure, would be very difficult.
“I really don’t know. We’ve really put our heart and soul into it and that’s difficult."
McGrath was also grateful for the advice given to the team by Ireland's Six Nations winning coach Joe Schmidt.
“We met him in a training camp in the run up to the Cork game,” he said. "He came to speak to us for an hour. He was absolutely brilliant, I have to say. He was just so ordinary. For the extraordinary coach that he is, he was just very ordinary.
"His whole approach was to get the levels of intensity up and then that the natural flow to your game will come after the intensity is upped.
“We did promise that we’d keep that conversation private.”