Wednesday 12 December 2018

John Mullane: If Derek McGrath asked me what he should do, I'd tell him to go

10 June 2018; Waterford manager Derek McGrath during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 4 match between Limerick and Waterford at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
10 June 2018; Waterford manager Derek McGrath during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 4 match between Limerick and Waterford at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Sam Roberts

John Mullane thinks it is time for Derek McGrath to step down from his role as Waterford hurling manager, and says that after giving everything to the job, it might be time for someone else to take it on.

Waterford's championship campaign is already over following a narrow defeat to Cork in Thurles on Sunday saw them finish outside the top three in Munster.

A difficult season for the Déise saw them fail to win a single game in the new round-robin championship format, drawing with Tipperary and slipping to heavy defeats to Clare and Limerick.

Last year's All-Ireland finalists were almost unrecognisable from the 2017 side at times after shipping a huge amount of injuries.

Manager Derek McGrath is said to be considering his future after the disappointing campaign, with McGrath yet to win a Munster or All-Ireland title in his five years in charge of the county.

Former Wateford hurler John Mullane was full of praise for the work McGrath has done in his time in charge, but suggested this was now the time to step aside.

"If I was Derek McGrath, if you wanted my opinion, I would tell him to go," Mullane told The Throw-In, Independent.ie's GAA podcast.

"I think he's done a fantastic job over the last five years. He's done a wonderful job but I just think at the present moment in time, the supporters are still split on the whole Derek McGrath issue, should he stay or should he go.

"Over the last few years he's been doing the job with a black cloud hanging over him, and I think the black cloud is probably starting to get a bit darker."

Mullane acknowledged many in Waterford had reservations about McGrath's style of play, but suggested finding a suitable replacement may not be easy.

"They're still going on about the style of play, playing a sweeper, not playing the free flowing game they expect Waterford to be playing and I think there is still a split there among the Waterford public," he added.

"I think he's done a remarkable job under the circumstances of that black cloud hanging over him, and I just think he's there five years now, if he asked for my opinion on it, I'd think five years is an awful long time.

"I would have said last year after the All-Ireland final, I thought he probably should have bowed out then.

"I don't think the man can do any more and maybe it's time where a new voice is needed to get the hunger back.

"The Waterford public want to be careful what they wish for because good managers don't grow on trees, and most certainly there's not a list of really good managers in Waterford.

"I think if he does decide to go, it's going to be a big call for the Waterford county board to get right man going forward for the next couple of years."

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