Hurling

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Walsh insists Deise will put league woes to bed with summer burst

Colm Keys

Published 16/04/2014|02:30

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Michael 'Brick'Walsh and Shane Ryan, Waterford
Michael 'Brick'Walsh and Shane Ryan, Waterford

Waterford's longest serving hurler Michael 'Brick' Walsh is confident of a quick recovery from the disappointment of being relegated from Division 1A.

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A new-look Waterford team lost their last two games against Clare and Kilkenny to draw them into a relegation play-off at home that they lost to Dublin.

But Walsh foresees a swift response as they prepare for a Munster quarter-final against Cork, a match for which they will be without suspended midfielder Shane O'Sullivan after the failure to overturn his red card.

"All managers and players would have been talking throughout the league saying that the championship is the be-all and end-all, and it is too. We're moving onto the championship, the league is forgotten about."

Waterford scored just two goals in their six league games, but Walsh has absolved his attacking colleagues for such a poor return, stressing there was a strong emphasis on defence, even among their forwards, throughout the league.

"We've played in Walsh Park for a lot of the games (three) and it's very hard to score there because it's a tight pitch," he said. "We played in Semple Stadium before that and scored 0-16. Tipperary scored 2-13 and the reason why we conceded so little was because of the work rate of the forwards.

"Gone are the days of scoring 2-23 and conceding 2-25. You have to have a hard-working forward line and that's what we have with Waterford."

Walsh is preparing for a 14th championship season and has witnessed radical personnel changes over the last couple of years. With Tony Browne no longer involved, he is now the county's most senior player.

"It's evolving the whole time. You would have seen it with Clare last year, their average age is probably 21 or 22 and that's the way it's gone.

"You have a lot of younger players coming through and the championship is a massively different thing to the league and you would have seen that last year with Clare.

"In the wide open spaces they go to town so I suppose we've been changing, we've a lot of exciting young talent coming through and that's what we're gearing for."

Walsh has also paid tribute to colleague Wayne Hutchinson for his frank revelations about battling depression last week.

"It is a massive thing and you would have to commend him on coming out and talking openly because at the moment it is a very stigmatised condition."

Irish Independent

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