Moran: Deise must step up another level for Cork clash
Out of the depths of despair Waterford hurling has taken the first steps toward redemption by winning the Allianz Hurling League title.
The spirits of players, management, and supporters were boosted by the manner and the achievement of defeating Cork in the final.
However, GAA/GPA Opel hurler of the month Kevin Moran remembers a key turning point far from the fervent atmosphere of the recent landmark final win.
It was the second League game of the campaign, away to Offaly.
Waterford were adopting new strategies with a young side, and after a draw in round one against Limerick, the Decies were seven points to nil down in Tullamore.
“On their day Offaly will put it up to any team in the country.
“We just stuck at what we were doing, we got a goal at a vital moment and we kicked on.
“It was quite pleasing going home on the bus that evening, knowing that we were seven points down, with a young team, an inexperienced team and we absorbed the pressure and when we got the opportunities we really did kick on.
“So for me, that was really satisfying, that day coming home from O'Connor Park,” said Moran.
Manager Derek McGrath and his backroom team had taken plenty of stick for the county’s performances in 2014 but it’s all so different now.
“There was a lot of negativity after a poor year and making huge changes. But Derek's there, and he has justified everything he's done already.
“That's no disrespect to any super players that have gone before, and who are good friends of us all. But he had to stamp his own authority on the team.
“It must be very pleasing for the management, but we just have to drive on now.
“We haven't had a good run in the summer for a long time so after our success in the League, it's important that we come back down to earth now and go again,” said Moran.
That journey will be taken without ace free taker Pauric Mahony who broke a shinbone in a club match.
“I was in to see Pauric. It was a pretty serious operation he had, but at least he's on the road to recovery now, please God.
“Pauric leaves a huge gap to fill, but there’s other guys in there.
“It's important that the likes of those guys drive it on over the next few months," said Moran.
Waterford will play Cork in the Munster championship on June 7.
"We know Cork are in the long grass, we know they're obviously hurting after the League final but our focus is on ourselves and trying to get our game right.
"We'll have to improve on our own performance in the League final if we're to beat Cork the next day, simple as that. " said Moran.