Austin Gleeson 'absolutely gutted' as Derek McGrath releases heartfelt statement announcing Waterford departure
Derek McGrath will leave his position as Waterford manager after their exit from the 2018 hurling championship.
McGrath informed his players after yesterday's defeat to Cork, which brought their Munster championship campaign to a close, that he will no longer continue in the role.
McGrath led Waterford to last year's All-Ireland final where they were narrowly defeated by Galway, but the 2018 championship was a disaster, with the Deise decimated by injuries.
Waterford failed to win any of their four Munster round robin fixtures and finished bottom of the table with one point.
McGrath won a National League title with Waterford in 2015, and brought them to Munster finals in both 2015 and 2016, where they were beaten by Tipperary.
"Tonight I have informed the Waterford County Board of my decision to step aside as manager of the Waterford Senior Hurling team," McGrath said in a heartfelt statement released this evening.
"The relinquishing of my position comes after five thoroughly enjoyable years working with the most committed, dedicated, honest and genuine players to represent our county.
"I wish to thank and pay tribute to an incredible bunch of players that I have had the honour to manage over this five-year period. The joy, the tears, the sense of camaraderie and the memories shared will stay with me forever. Embarking on this journey with a group of young players we aimed to cultivate a culture of honesty, integrity and pride every time we represented our beloved county. Witnessing your growth and watching you represent Waterford on and off the field with the unity of a tight-knit family filled us all with immense pride.
"You have been a credit to yourselves and I thank your families and partners for inculcating in you a sense of decency, a humility and a work ethic that will stand the test of time. The greatest compliment I can pay both players and their families is the hope that I can continue to rear my own family with the underlying traits that are inherent in you all.
"This team will be forever ingrained in my heart. Returning to family and school life, I hope to learn from the values and principles that you stand for. I look forward to applying these learnings into the future in differing capacities."
Reacting to the news on Twitter, Waterford star Austin Gleeson said:
"I’m absolutely gutted that Derek McGrath who has done so much for this county, myself on a personal level and anyone who has dealt with him is stepping away!! The amount of work he has put in that nobody realises is incredible! He will sorely missed by this whole team."