William Maher: Wheels came off but Deise can make summer splash
Waterford hurling coach William Maher admits the "wheels came off" the Deise's league campaign, but is confident they can still have a say in the championship.
Maher has given a more upbeat assessment of Waterford's injury problems, with Jake Dillon and Maurice Shanahan expected to be available.
Regular full-back Liam Lawlor is also on the way back after featuring in a challenge match against Offaly on Sunday night, but Stephen Molumphy, who has a hamstring injury, is doubtful.
"We're hoping we can get some more game time into Liam between now and Cork and that he'll be available," said Maher. "He is a fantastic player and is just trying to get his fitness issues and injuries behind him."
Maher says the loss of Philip Mahony, their best defender in the league, is a significant one.
"You're going to get injuries. We've had a bad run the last while and throughout the league there were always five or six guys missing," he said.
"I suppose Waterford don't have the pool that Tipperary and Kilkenny have as regards players. We've been running on empty throughout the league, but we'll be fine on the 25th, I think."
Despite being relegated, Maher feels Waterford have a lot to take from the league campaign.
"The first three matches in the league were outstanding, but then the wheels fell off when 'Brick' Walsh was suspended for the Clare match and we had three or four other injuries.
"But, look, we got what we got out of the league and it's about May 25 and Cork now. We just can't wait to get going."
Former Tipperary minor coach Maher admits it's strange to be working with a neighbouring outfit having been immersed in the Premier County for so long.
"The opportunity to work with a senior inter-county team really appealed to me," he said.
"I'm loving it. It's a little bit strange, but I hope to be back in Tipperary some day."