'It's so hard to get back here' - Derek McGrath admits that his Waterford future is 'not definite'
WHETHER he finds solace in it over the winter or not, Derek McGrath can at least reflect on Waterford’s All-Ireland final with no regrets.
“There was no capitulation, there was no sense of throwing in the towel,” he said, eyes red and raw by the time he arrived to complete his final press conference of the hurling year.
“The resilience shown was incredible, I’m very proud of the lads, never as proud of them, in fact.”
McGrath was there as a supporter in 2008 when Waterford were incinerated by the most complete performance the greatest hurling team of their generation ever delivered.
Dan Shanahan, Eoin Murphy, ‘Brick’ Walsh and Kevin Moran were involved that day too and though Galway briefly threatened to unleash that sort of fury in an immaculate opening to yesterday’s final, Waterford kept going, almost stride for stride until the hour mark.
“We have a lot of guys in that dressing room that operate in a world where winning is everything,” McGrath went on.
“And getting the balance right for us in the management, telling them you’re proud of them although we didn’t win, and the whole negative connotations that come with that. And that’s the feeling in there, it’s one of immense pride.
“We spoke about pride but we are trying to get the balance right between defeatism and moral victory.
“I’ve spoken about that over the last three years – it’s so hard to get back here, you have to take the chance.”
Given their age profile, the expectation is that Waterford will be back.
McGrath was reluctant to say whether he’d be back with them but that too seems likely.
“It’s an expectation but it’s just so hard because automatically you would be thinking other teams will come to the table as well.
“That would be an expectation,” he concluded, “but it’s not definite.”