Monday 23 April 2018

English: Don't knock Deise for doing what every side does

Tipperary legend Nicky English doesn't believe Waterford's style is particularly groundbreaking
Tipperary legend Nicky English doesn't believe Waterford's style is particularly groundbreaking
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Tipperary legend Nicky English believes Waterford's much-analysed style is just an "exaggerated" version of the tactics adopted by most of the big sides.

Derek McGrath's side have been the subject of many debates as they remodelled themselves this year but English doesn't see their style of play as revolutionary.

"I think they are doing what most other teams are doing but a little bit more exaggerated," he said.

"They are all trying to bring back their wing-forwards back into midfield, and Waterford are doing that. Every team is trying to leave two in the full-forward line and Waterford are doing that, but they are transitioning very quickly."

English, who has been in charge of the UCD Fitzgibbon Cup team for the past few campaigns, believes the trend has emerged from how third level teams set up in recent seasons.

"Waterford's half-forwards are very mobile and they come back into midfield and then they try and support the two up front," he said. "But it is not necessarily playing two sweepers or three sweepers.


"Will it filter down? I think most county teams are playing similarly at the moment. It's there already.

"And a lot of that is coming out of the third level teams. A lot of them play like that. Waterford IT and UCC, the more successful ones, have been playing like that and they are creating a bit of space in the full-forward line.

"Kilkenny are doing the same. It's not as easy to recognise because it is not as exaggerated as what Waterford are doing but it is similar enough."

The Deise went unbeaten in League and Championship until they were turned over by Tipperary in the Munster final.

They bounced back by seeing off Dublin in their All-Ireland quarter-final but face the sternest test of their credentials when taking on All-Ireland champions Kilkenny in Croke Park on Sunday.

And English believes they'll have to come up with a way to put the shackles on Richie Hogan and TJ Reid if they are to have any chance of causing an upset.

"Kilkenny for me have the two best players in the country in Reid and Hogan," he said. "I don't know which one of them is the best. But when you have those two players, they're just amazing.

"They certainly are doing most of the damage for Kilkenny, so if Waterford can find a way to say that Reid and Hogan won't score that much on Sunday, well then that would give them a great chance. But that's not easy. No one has been able to do that.

"Ultimately I expect Kilkenny to win it but Waterford aren't to be discounted."

Irish Independent

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