Thursday 19 July 2018

McGrath resignation would have set us back - Barron

Jamie Barron Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Jamie Barron Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Waterford hurling star Jamie Barron believes that had manager Derek McGrath stepped away from the side after 2017 it would have "set them back a year or two".

McGrath and his management team of Dan Shanahan and Eoin Murphy are on board for another season after negotiations with the county board at the end of last year.

And they were further boosted when veteran Michael 'Brick' Walsh also confirmed that he will be part of the set-up in 2018.

All-Star midfielder Barron insists that McGrath remaining at the helm was "massive" for the panel.

"It was massive for us," he replied when asked about McGrath's decision to remain in charge for a fifth season. "The trust that we have in Derek and he has in us is unbreakable and if he was to go it might have set us back a year or two.

"We're delighted himself, Dan and Eoin Murphy have decided to stay on, I think it's a one-year contract so we'll be putting everything we can to try and get over the line.

"We want to deliver this year but it's not the be-all and end-all. I think we are going to give it everything we have and the respect we have for Derek will give us that extra incentive to try pay back what he has done for us over the last four years.

"We're going to do everything for Derek and ourselves to try get up them Hogan steps."

Waterford were also boosted by the decision of Walsh to recommit for yet another campaign.

The 34-year-old had been thought to be considering his future after last September's All-Ireland final defeat to Galway. "He's one of the main leaders of the team, he's 34 now and he's the one guy that when the going gets tough he's always there fighting and winning ball and encouraging other lads," Barron said of the Stradbally man at yesterday's launch of the GAA's Healthy Clubs Project (HCP) in Croke Park.

"With 'Brick' what he brings even to the dressing-room is phenomenal. Even for the younger lads as well he is such a leader and someone you have looked up to for so long and he drives you on and to have him back for another year is great.

"I don't think he was ever going to step away, in today's game once a fella hits 30 they just expect him to retire straight away but Brick looks after himself so well that's it's no issue for him to stay on.

"The only factor that could take him away is he has a young family and young kids so that would probably be the only thing but he's still probably one of the fittest in the panel - there's no issue that way."

Barron ended a brilliant 2017 on a personal level with an All-Star award as well as a nomination for the Hurler of the Year award but he insists they will have to improve.

"It's impossible to call how close you are. We still need to improve more to win the All-Ireland and get up to the likes of Galway, Tipperary and Kilkenny." 

Irish Independent

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