Barron acknowledges impact of more advanced Déise role
Jamie Barron made a conscious effort to be more attack-minded in 2017, a decision that helped him to be shortlisted for the PwC GAA/GPA Hurler of the Year and being named hurling player of the month for August.
The industrious Barron, who scored two goals in Waterford's championship games against Kilkenny and Cork, acknowledged that some of his forward colleagues were 'isolated' and needed more support.
Barron and midfield colleague Kevin Moran scored some of their most crucial goals as they profited from their new approach.
"We've endured a lot of criticism from people who've been saying we haven't been scoring goals or haven't been scoring high enough tallies to win games.
"Myself and Kevin, we were more forward than defensive this year. We made a conscious effort to get forward as much as we could. It paid off but it's all to do with the group. If you have Darragh Fives back there or Tadhg (de Búrca), you're confident that you can go forward and you're able to keep going.
"It showed with Kevin as well - he got crucial goals at crucial times of the year. I think that is what is needed. You need to be getting goals and high tallies to be beating the likes of Galway, Tipperary and Kilkenny.
"At the start of the year, Kevin and myself said we had to move forward more and add to the forward unit because at times lads were isolated up front and it's very tough for any player, if you're isolated, to score or to work. So we made a conscious effort to attack as much as we could."
Barron ran himself to a standstill in the All-Ireland final before being replaced late on but was adamant it had nothing to do with an illness he picked up 10 days before the game which ruled him out of training until the Friday night beforehand.
"I think that was blown a bit out of proportion. I was in bed for maybe two or three days. I don't know how people even found out about that. I don't think it had any effect on me personally in the game. When you're out there playing, you forget about all those things.
"I trained on the Friday before the final, missing maybe two or three sessions. But at the same time I took the positives from it and said it was a bit of a rest for me and just relaxed and got my mindset right for the game."
Derek McGrath and the squad are due to sit down soon to discuss the future with the manager's decision the subject of much speculation.
"I don't know if Derek will stay on but I am 100pc behind him staying on. If you look at the progress we've made over the last few years from being hammered in league games in Nowlan Park and Thurles and places like that to contesting and being very close to winning an All-Ireland final three years later.
"I think that shows how much he's done for us. Hopefully, with the progress we've made year-on-year, if we can make another small bit of progress we'll get over the line. But that's down the line."
And he sees a bright future for the current squad.
"We're still a very young team. I'm only 23 and there's a lot of lads younger than me, I'm probably one of the older lads to an extent from all that's come in from the U-21 and minor teams that won All-Irelands. If the players can add another five or 10 per cent to their game in the following year and years to come, we can't be that far away from hopefully making the breakthrough on the biggest day."