Tuesday 24 October 2017

McGrath adamant Waterford players have 'parked' ref controversy

Deise manager Derek McGrath. Photo: Sportsfile
Deise manager Derek McGrath. Photo: Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Waterford have "parked" the controversy over the free to Jamie Barron that wasn't given which ultimately presented Clare with an opportunity to pounce late and win a first League title since 1978.

Deise manager Derek McGrath, speaking at last night's launch of the Munster Championships at the Bru Boru Cultural Centre beneath the Rock of Cashel, said the squad quickly put any lingering disappointment over the manner of their defeat behind them on Sunday evening.

"The groundswell of opinion in Waterford the day after but not in our dressing-room was about (referee) Diarmuid (Kirwan), but we parked that immediately ourselves," said McGrath (right).

"In the 'Horse and Jockey' we had our team meeting and we said that, 'we'll park that straight away, guys'. The longer that becomes a side issue, any sense of 'we were robbed', then it becomes a negative, like the reaction to the drawn game the previous week."

And he is conscious of not giving Clare any sense of grievance that their title has been tainted in any way.

"All the time Clare are preparing and almost saying to themselves, 'hey, they're saying it was a refereeing decision, we'll show them'. It could become part of their process," he said.

"The manner of the defeat is gone for us, our motivation is that we want to make it to another Munster final."

McGrath said they found it hard to deal with the negativity that came streaming out after the drawn game.

"It was very difficult, because the mindset in the group is not to talk about the old-fashioned, 'this fella said this, this fella said that'. We want to move away from that," he said. "It's necessary every now and again but we're definitely moving away from that - 'did you hear what this expert said' conversation.

"I heard Donal Og (Cusack) on the radio say there were a lot of elements to the first (drawn) game that were completely unrecognised by critics. I'd wholeheartedly agree.

"We played no differently on Sunday, tactically, yet the game was totally different. But people today were telling me we set up completely differently, the shackles were off, all of that."

McGrath fears that the negativity may generate a move to change facets of the game, just as has happened in Gaelic football with the introduction of a black card and the mark.

"The danger is that with changes implemented in Gaelic football in the last few years, that if the games continue to go in a particular fashion, that there'll be a sense of 'we need to change this, change that'," he said.

Meanwhile, Cork hurling manager Kieran Kingston has confirmed that team captain Stephen McDonnell will miss Sunday week's Munster Championship opener against Tipperary. McDonnell picked up an injury in a challenge game against Clare a few weeks back.

Kingston said it was "understandable" if Cork were being seen as outsiders in Munster.

"We're outsiders but that's understandable given our league performance and the performance of this core team over the last few years."

Irish Independent

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