Wednesday 21 March 2018

Derek McGrath: I'm totally against changes to hurling

Waterford manager Derek McGrath. Photo: Sportsfile
Waterford manager Derek McGrath. Photo: Sportsfile

Michael Verney

Hurling is perfect just the way it is - so says Derek McGrath.

The Waterford boss watched on in delight on Sunday as Waterford's three-goal blitz blew away Limerick in the League semi-final, ending their goal drought in devastating fashion.

That brought to four their total of green flags raised in this year's campaign but McGrath feels there's no guarantee of more against Clare in the League decider as the transition from defence to attack still "challenges" Waterford.

Defensive systems are becoming prevalent and while some have called for changes, McGrath isn't one of them.

"We're not alone. Just look at the last round of League games: Wexford set up with seven (at the back) against us, Clare set up with seven at the weekend, Limerick set up with seven. It's changed," McGrath said at the launch of the Celtic Challenge U-17 hurling competition.

"People are putting more and more thought into the game. But I don't think it's losing any of its instinctive nature as well. There are many moments of brilliance within the game."

Former National Hurling co-ordinator Paudie Butler suggests 80-minute games to allow for more goal-scoring opportunities when games open up but McGrath isn't in favour of such alterations.

"Who am I to disagree with Paudie, he's an absolute icon within the GAA? But I'd be totally against any change to the game," he said.

"I think we're in danger of. . . if we try to change the game in any way, or if we try to over-analyse it in terms of what's happening now, it becomes negative press.

"And then so much negativity becomes ingrained that people feel they have to do something.

"For me, there is nothing needed to be done. Clare set up with seven the last day and scored 4-22. There's elements maybe in people's approach, that while they might be defensive minded, open up more attacking options.

"I'd be slow to change anything. I don't think an 80-minute game is any solution. It's probably over-analysis of the game."

Star forward Pauric Mahony made further progress in his comeback from a broken leg by playing a brief cameo on Sunday but McGrath doesn't envisage a first start since his return, "not yet anyway", in the League decider against Clare on May 1.

All-Star Maurice Shanahan missed the Limerick game due a hip/groin issue, which he is getting a scan on today, but his manager believes he could yet be fit to face the Banner.

Irish Independent

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