Thursday 26 April 2018

Cyril Farrell: Deise are the coming force that won't go away quietly

Jake Dillon, Waterford, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal
Jake Dillon, Waterford, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal
Cathal Mannion in action against Dublin's Cian O'Callaghan
'Brian Whelehan is doing the best with what he has but if the quality of players aren’t there, what more can he do?'

Cyril Farrell

As the old adage goes, goals win games and yesterday that was the case as Cork, who had started well, had no answer to Waterford's quick-fire double.

Cork really needed a goal in the first half but they weren't strong enough to get it and it was too little, too late when Patrick Horgan eventually scored in injury time.

There was a lot of talk after the league final that Cork would bounce back when it mattered in the championship but far too often, people underestimate the important of the league.

There was a lot of pressure on Waterford coming in as league champions but they're dealing with every challenge that's being thrown at them.

Waterford are the coming force in this country and people are beginning to take them seriously now.

Cork started with far more intensity and it forced Waterford to start playing outside of their system which they weren't comfortable with.

They started to shoot from way out and were panicking on the ball. Having exploited that well, you would have expected Cork to kick on but it never happened and as soon as Maurice Shanahan and Jake Dillon (right) rattled the back of the net, their heads dropped.

Waterford settled into their stride and started to gain the upper hand through the middle.

Derek McGrath deserves credit for the way in which he is deploying a hugely effective system that all of his players are buying into.

Despite some criticism, he has stuck by his guns and it's paying off for Waterford now.

They grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck but yesterday's victory just goes to show that, you can have a good system, but without the players to make it work, you aren't going to go very far.

When you break it down, Cork didn't play that badly. They were second best and were simply beaten by the better team.

It's still a long year ahead and if they get a home draw in the qualifiers, I'd expect them to bounce back.

I thought Luke O'Farrell's red card was harsh. It looked like he was being held but even with 15 players on the pitch, I couldn't have seen Cork win that game.

They're suffering from the lack of success at minor and U-21 level and Jimmy Barry-Murphy doesn't seem to have the players firing.

Traditionally, Cork would have bounced back from a league final defeat in time for the championship and the fact that they weren't able to do so again will be a concern for some of their supporters.

Aidan Walsh looked a bit lost and with Waterford killing the ball, the Rebels grew even more frustrated. Pa Cronin scored five points and Bill Cooper made a difference when he moved to midfield.

At the end of the day, they scored 1-21 so there are positives to take but they can't afford to fall any further behind.

Waterford can sit back now and watch Limerick and Tipperary do battle, comforted by the fact that regardless of who they face in the final, they won't have any fears.

Understandably, there was a lot of doom and gloom when Pauric Mahony suffered his injury but others are stepping into the breach and filling the void.

Maurice Shanahan in particular was excellent yesterday and 1-9 was a fine personal tally. He took over the free-taking duties and knocked over seven in total and looked assured.

It's an exciting time in Waterford. They are riding on the crest of a wave and it will take a serious team to beat them this year.

Galway overcome test of character

Make no mistake about it, Saturday's win over Dublin was Galway's biggest win of the year because of the boost that it will undoubtedly give the county.

The management and the players were under huge pressure and they answered a lot of questions.

I couldn't believe how naive Dublin were. It took them an age to react to playing against a breeze that was as strong as a storm.

The lack of protection that the Dubs gave their defence was very surprising and they paid the ultimate price for that.

They got to grips with Galway eventually but they'll have to go back to the drawing board and look at the kind of work that Waterford have done in the last year.

It's like building a house - you need to work from the ground up but Dublin don't seem to be doing that. They need to change their game plan and the sooner they get Peter Kelly back from injury, the better.

Galway have plenty of good hurlers - no one has ever doubted that and on their day they are a match for anyone. Their full forward line are very dangerous and when they click, Galway click.

Cathal Mannion grabbed the headlines with a brilliant hat-trick and it was great to see the real Joe Canning back firing.

He is still one of the best free takers in the country but with Jason Flynn hitting them on Saturday, it took a lot of pressure off Joe's shoulders. He was left to play his own game and he worked the space very effectively.

There are a lot of sharp shooters in the Galway forward line but no one is getting ahead of themselves. They still have a lot of work to do but the kind of lift that they will have gotten from Saturday's victory, gives confidence for the rest of the year.

Offaly's woes continue as they fall even further behind

I expected Laois to be strong at home against Offaly and, thankfully, from their point of view, they sorted out their off-field issues before today.

Cheddar came back into the fold and it must have given everyone a massive lift.

I was impressed with Laois against Clare last year; they were flying and I felt they had a little bit more in them.

The league defeat to Antrim was a real wake-up call and they've responded well. They're back on track now but there's a lot of work still ahead.

You can guarantee that Laois will drive it on now but on the other hand, it's difficult to see what direction Offaly are headed in.

Brian Whelehan is doing the best with what he has but if the quality of players aren't there, what more can he do?

If something isn't changed quickly, Offaly are in serious danger of being left even further behind those around them.

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