Thursday 17 January 2019

'Derek McGrath's system has to be declared a failure' - Ger Loughnane criticises former Waterford boss

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

Mícheál Ó Scannáil

Ger Loughnane has said that Derek McGrath's system must go down as a failure after the Waterford manager stepped-down on Tuesday.

In his column in the Irish Daily Star, Loughnane outlined all five trophyless championship seasons McGrath has had at the helm of Waterford.

In McGrath's tenure with the Déise, they managed no Munster triumphs and appeared in only one, unsuccessful, All-Ireland final. Loughnane, who won two All-Irelands as Clare manager, recalled how "fortune again favoured" Waterford in the semi-final of that year after Cork were reduced to 14 men.

The Clare native remarked how Waterford were "fortuitous" in some of their big victories under McGrath and that their lack of championship silverware reflects the failings of their manager's system.

"The McGrath system of play was ultimately found to be flawed," he wrote.

"No team has become a force playing with such a rigid, overly defensive system. So Derek's system has to be declared a failure.

"Not winning even a Munster title in five years with such a talented group is inexcusable, and left him with no choice but to quit. Waterford need a change of voice and direction."

McGrath, whose loss to Waterford hurling has been bemoaned by many of their senior hurlers, is known for his support of his players not only on the field but in other aspects of their lives. Loughnane, who in 2015 described McGrath's Division One National Hurling League win as "phenomenal", added that his efforts with Waterford will be remembered for that reason.

While he described him as only the third-best Waterford manager in the past two decades, behind Davy Fitzgerald and Justin McCarthy, he said that his personality will still be respected in hurling circles.

"It's a personality thing," he wrote.

"When it came to analysing, apologising, philosophising, or theorising, Derek was in a league of his own. Derek gave it his best shot. He tried something new."

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