Saturday 22 July 2017

'We were disguising how much we were worried about relegation' - McGrath relieved about booking quarter-final spot

Waterford manager Derek McGrath before the Clare and Waterford matchat Cusack Park in Ennis. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Waterford manager Derek McGrath before the Clare and Waterford matchat Cusack Park in Ennis. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Jack O'Toole

Waterford manager Derek McGrath has said that his side are delighted to have a booked a league quarter-final date with Galway next weekend, but that realistically, his side were probably not completely honest in just how worried they were about avoiding a relegation play-off.

Waterford entered Sunday's game with Clare with just two wins from their first four games in the league, with the winner most likely booking a place in the league quarter-finals, while the loser would be resigned to a relegation play-off with Dublin.

Tom Devine's late goal ensured that Waterford would avoid the latter consequence, as the Deise clawed back a half-time deficit to beat Clare 2-21 to 1-22 in Ennis, but after the game, McGrath admitted that his side were quite worried about the prospect of relegation from Division 1A.

"I said before the game that if we could just get something tangible out of the game towards the championship... and both sets of supporters got a brilliant game," McGrath told RTÉ Sport after the win.

"I know ye think that's talk when you're trying to stave off a relegation battle, and when you look at the reaction of ourselves at the end of it, there was a little bit of a relief, so maybe we were disguising how much we were, deep down, worried about a relegation play-off."

Waterford avenged last year's Division 1A final loss to Clare on Sunday, but McGrath knows that the opening rounds of the league campaign will be a sign of things to come for the summer, even if Clare may now face relegation from Division 1A.

"I think we got a sign of what could come in the summer from both teams. There's lots of talent on board on both teams," McGrath added.

"We're delighted to be in a quarter-final. Our aim at the start of the year was to cement our place in 1A."

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