John Mullane is ‘baffled’ by Davy Fitzgerald’s use of Dessie Hutchinson in Déise’s attack

Waterford's Dessie Hutchinson. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Michael Verney

Waterford legend John Mullane has questioned the use of ace attacker Dessie Hutchinson in Davy Fitzgerald’s Déise set-up.

Hutchinson, a former professional soccer star, has been a revelation as an inside forward since switching attention to the small ball but he is not operating there under Fitzgerald.

The Waterford boss has instead opted to utilise the three-time All-Star nominee as a link player in the middle third during this year’s league and Mullane cannot understand the logic behind it.

“The ‘elephant in the room’ seems to be Dessie Hutchinson and everyone is asking the question: what’s going on with Dessie Hutchinson?” Mullane told’s Throw-In podcast.

“It’s one of two things, he’s either going to throw Dessie back inside or he’s saying, ‘Well, look Dessie, this is the way it’s going to be. There’s going to be stages of games in Munster where you’re going to be around the half-forward line’.

“I don’t see Dessie as that type of player. I see him as real close to goal, quick turn of foot, in on goal, get his four or five points so it’s going to be very, very interesting how that plays out.

​“My only fear is that if you start messing with the top-class player that Dessie Hutchinson is, what you don’t want is a player of that calibre starting to doubt himself.”

As Waterford head away to Portugal this week for a four-day training camp, Mullane remains “baffled with where they are right now” while Kilkenny icon Eddie Brennan is another who cannot get his head around the positioning of the Ballygunner dynamo.

“That’s where he is at his best,” Brennan said of Hutchinson as a corner-forward. “There are times when he might have to go out the field but, ultimately, you have to have lads that are able to function and be a threat. This is one of the issues around a Davy Fitz team.

“There’s a little bit too much of what they can’t do. They have to play the system and he tries to control that, I can understand why you might want to shut up shop and start closing the gap and we’ll see can we pinch something and win or manufacture frees.

“But are you telling me that Dessie Hutchinson couldn’t be in where Billy Drennan (Kilkenny forward) was and be capable of winning clean possession?

“You need to have those one or two lads in there that you can say, ‘Put it into them, let’s feed the boys inside and they’ll make something happen’ and that’s a worry.”