Wednesday 13 December 2017

'Brick' has warned us to make most of now - Gleeson

Austin Gleeson. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Austin Gleeson. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

There's no doubt that time is on Waterford's side. They are young and talented and whatever happens in Sunday's Munster SHC final with Tipp, they should garner some of the natural improvement that comes with age and experience.

But Michael 'Brick' Walsh gives Déise starlet Austin Gleeson constant reminders that the years and chances of success can slip by in the blink of an eye.

"I suppose the one thing that sticks out in my head, and 'Brick' Walsh always says it is that, 'We had good times but we never got up those steps'," Gleeson said, ahead of the showdown in Limerick.

"He's always trying to instil that in us. That they had good teams from '02 on and they had the calibre of players like Ken McGrath, John Mullane, Dan Shanahan and all those lads.

"He was just kind of saying that the calibre is there for certain players on the team now to go there or maybe even further.

"He's saying that it's (about) now, it's not looking back in 10 years saying what could have happened.

"It's just now and make the most of it now, and don't look back in five or six years and regret not ever making the most stuff and saying, 'Oh we'll have next year'.

"The lads that were playing 10 years ago don't have that anymore and they never got up those steps. So he always tries to instil in us mostly to make the most of what you have now."

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Waterford can take a major step forward this weekend by turning Tipp over in the Gaelic Grounds. They had the same chance last year but fell short and Gleeson suggests that was too much too soon for the young Déise side who had already caused something of a surprise by winning the league final.

"I'd say so to be honest," he replied when asked if the significance of the fixture weighed them down.

"I can't really talk for all of the lads but even just talking to a couple of them in the couple of weeks after that, it was massive for us. It was our first Munster final in the senior grade (since 2012).

"It was maybe 10 of the team's first Munster (final) so it was always going to have an effect on us, especially with Tipp being such an experienced team.

"They kind of knew exactly what they had to do on the day and how to go about it, so that will only help us and help bring us on this year in the Munster final."

Gleeson's earliest memory of Munster finals stretches back to the county's breakthrough win in 2002 when he was a seven-year-old, meaning his vintage has never known the wilderness that Waterford had found themselves in for a generation or more before that.


"There was always a belief that they could be the team and growing up I suppose from U-14, 15 and 16 we played every team in the country six or seven times.

"We've always beaten them at least two or three times, so from my age and the year above us and below us we always had the belief that we could beat anyone.

"It's obviously different at senior because there's a wider branch of ages and there's not just one set age.

"Even the minor three years ago, we won the All-Ireland but the teams from that age were the ones who put it up to us more because the ages were starting to come together.

"We always just had a belief in each other that we could go on to the win the game.

"We were never saying, 'We are going out here to get hammered' so that was just the belief we had and that's the belief the lads are instilling in us now. It's the way we have to go."

Sure is official statistics partner of the GAA All-Ireland Championships, up to the end of the 2018 season.

Irish Independent

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