Sunday 25 February 2018

Deise's young guns have talent to match anyone in country - Flynn

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Waterford legend Paul Flynn looks at the current Deise team with huge admiration.

Their high skill level, which Flynn believes is up there with any team in the country, is one of their more obvious charms but Flynn admires their outlook and where they see themselves in the hurling world.

The county's young guns are different these days. Their panel now is packed with players who have won All-Irelands and have taken big scalps. They have already secured a League title but Flynn remembers that Waterford hurlers didn't always think so big.

He recalls his own career and remembers how the fact that hadn't won a Munster title since 1963 weighed heavily on them.

Flynn and his team-mates brought that famine to an end in 2002 when they beat Tipperary, then reigning Munster and All-Ireland champions, in style.

But he admits looking back that they found it hard to turn "tradition" on its head.

"It wasn't an inferiority complex, it was just fact. You are going up against the likes of Tipp and they have won Munster titles and All-Irelands and you haven't won a Munster title since 1963," he recalls.

"It was just a tradition at that stage and it was a tradition that had to be changed. I suppose Tipp had it too from 1971-87. It's about luck too. You have to be lucky enough to be born in a generation where you can do something about it.

"Inferiority is the phrase people use but I'm not sure it's the right one. But I think that has all changed now.

"Eventually when you get over the line you kind of look back and wonder what all the fuss was about."

Flynn is convinced Waterford are a better team than they were 12 months ago, when Tipperary had too much for Derek McGath's young side in the Munster decider.

"People are excited about the team they have so many good hurlers on the team and they have a lovely balance to them," he says.

"There's a good core of a team that have been together a while, maybe 10 or 12 of them and that's a help too.

"They have more maturity and more experience. And the likes of Shane Bennet and Patrick Curran have come in there and taken some of the pressure off Maurice Shanahan and Paudie Mahony in the forwards."

And Flynn believes that new-found maturity was displayed when they bounced back from an agonising League final replay defeat to Clare to beat the Banner in the Munster Championship.

"It's not nice to lose a national title lie that and to have that decision go against them late on the way it did," he says.

"But it also gave them a reason to come back and train harder and be determined that it wasn't going to come down to a referee's decision again and that they'd take care of the game on their own terms.

"This Sunday is going to be a 50-50 game. People talk about Tipp missing Bubbles (O'Dwyer) and he is a loss but Tipp have a great panel and they'll still have 15 on the pitch.

"It's a hard game to call and I think Waterford have a great team and I honestly believe they have the skill levels to go toe to toe with anyone in the country. I think we'll see a great game."

Former Waterford hurler Paul Flynn of Tramore Golf Club was at the GUI National Golf Academy to launch the knockout stages of the AIG Cups & Shields competitions which take place from August 16-20 at Ballyliffin.

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