Thursday 23 May 2019

Bringing a top team to Fraher Field is great for Waterford - McGlinchey

Waterford manager Tom McGlinchey. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Waterford manager Tom McGlinchey. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

It's 21 years since Waterford hurlers were eliminated from the championship before the footballers, an unusual turn of events that will boost the attendance in Fraher Field, Dungarvan on Saturday.

Monaghan are going south for a Round 2 football qualifier which Waterford manager Tom McGlinchey describes as a "brilliant occasion for everyone who puts so much into the game in this county".

Waterford took their place in the Round 2 draw for only the second time after beating Wexford, a success which has greatly energised the camp.

"The sense of satisfaction for the players, their families and everyone involved with the scene is fantastic. It might not look very much to outsiders but a win like that elevates the thing to a different level," said McGlinchey.

Waterford got one of the toughest draws against a Monaghan team intent on re-launching their season after the surprising setback against Fermanagh in the Ulster semi-final.

It would be one of the biggest shocks in championship history if Waterford were to beat them but McGlinchey is taking encouragement from Carlow, who ran Monaghan close last year.


"The important thing for us is that we set up to give ourselves the best chance we can, play well and enjoy the experience. Having a Division 1 team coming to Dungarvan is great for Waterford football," he said.

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McGlinchey has long been a supporter of a championship structure that provides automatically for that situation, rather than relying on a qualifier draw.

A system where groups of four, each with a team from the four divisions, play each other in round-robin format is regularly put forward as a possible replacement for the provincial championships, although so far it hasn't got any official recognition.

"Last year, we played Cork, who were in Division 2 and ran them to a point. This year, we beat Wexford, who were in Division 3 and now we're playing Monaghan from Division 1, so there's a group from all four divisions.

"I think we need to be more imaginative in how we go about looking at things. Hurling has changed an awful lot over the years, so why not football?

"I can see what it's doing for Waterford football to have a Division 1 team coming to Dungarvan for a championship game. It would do the same for other counties in Division 4. Everything helps when you're trying to build your way up," said McGlinchey.

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