Monday 20 November 2017

McGrath adds Hartley and Murphy to Déise set-up

Former Waterford player Eoin Murphy. Photo: Brian Lawless / Sportsfile
Former Waterford player Eoin Murphy. Photo: Brian Lawless / Sportsfile

Jackie Cahill and Michael Verney

Waterford boss Derek McGrath has bolstered his backroom team ahead of the All-Ireland SHC qualifiers with the additions of former playing stars Eoin Murphy and Fergal Hartley.

Murphy, an All-Star in 2006, has come on board as a selector, while 2002 Munster Championship-winning captain Hartley is providing another fresh voice in an advisory role.

McGrath is anxious to move on quickly following the disappointing reversal to Cork and clearly feels that more input is needed as his players regroup for an assault on All-Ireland honours through the back door.

Hartley, a former Waterford U-21 manager, had been tipped to replace Davy Fitzgerald as senior boss in 2011 and his addition could well see the Ballygunner man groomed as McGrath's eventual successor with a widespread feeling in Waterford that this may be McGrath's last season at the senior helm.

Roanmore's Philip Murphy came on board as a selector alongside McGrath and Dan Shanahan at the start of the year but he quit abruptly at the end of March, before their league quarter-final meeting with Galway, but McGrath has now finally moved to fill the void.

Listless

The positioning of Austin Gleeson has been much-debated in the wake their listless display against the Rebels, which saw last year's Hurler of the Year substituted, and Déise legend Paul Flynn believes they must find a permanent spot for him or run the risk of making the same mistakes which Galway have made with Joe Canning.

"Austin is being asked to do something that Galway have asked Joe Canning to do for the last eight or ten years without success. Austin comes into that category where he's so gifted, he's so talented," Flynn told the RTÉ GAA podcast.

"We saw last year he was voted Player of the Year, had an unbelievable U-21 campaign and we still don't have a settled position for him. It's like Real Madrid playing Cristiano Ronaldo in a holding midfield role in front of the defence, it just doesn't make sense.

"Be it centre-back, wing-back or centre-forward, for himself, and for the team in particular, a settled Austin Gleeson would be a fantastic addition but for this Waterford team, he'd be the leader, he's the one guy that you could build the team around.

"But when you're asking him to come out from corner-forward, play midfield... there's definitely ways that Waterford need to use him but playing him as a floating player isn't good for Waterford."

Irish Independent

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