WATCH - 'You tell them what they mean to you' - Derek McGrath on what he said to heartbroken Waterford players
Waterford manager Derek McGrath was magnanimous in defeat after his side lost 0-26 to 2-17 against Galway in today's All-Ireland hurling final.
He accepted that Galway were the better team on the day but beamed with pride about his players after they bounced back from a tough start to throw down a real challenge to the Tribesmen.
Galway began with four points on the bounce and were purring but goals from Kevin Moran and Kieran Bennett kept the Déise in it.
Waterford did lead at times but Galway's bench power proved the difference with Niall Burke and Jason Flynn knocking over four points.
A clearly emotional McGrath gave his verdict on the game to RTE after the final whistle.
"It's a hard day. There is a gut-wrenching dressing room inside. The lads put everything into the last four years, so we're bitterly disappointed albeit Galway were probably marginally a better team," he said.
"We were hit by four points in a row at the start of the game and I'm so proud of our lads for not crumbling.
"We managed to get ourselves into the game with Kevin's goal almost against the head and we settled in before that and just before half time we had a pretty strong period but overall it came a bit easier to Galway and congratulations to Michéal and all of the lads.
"We're immensely proud of our lads, there was no capitulation. We came in as 3/1 outsiders and we're just overcome with pride with the effort they gave us."
On what he told his charges afterwards: "You tell them what they mean to you, you tell them you're proud of them. We were ranked 12/1 at the start of the year to win the championship, albeit I acknowledged last year that moral victories are gone in Waterford.
"It's so hard to get back here again."
When asked about his own future, he responded: "I've just come from a dressing room where the scenes are devastation, I've put no thought into anything else other than the fact that we were here to be competitive and win the All-Ireland if we could and unfortunately we haven't done that."