Wednesday 20 November 2019

No fairytale ending but McGrath will be back

Waterford manager Derek McGrath Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Waterford manager Derek McGrath Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

It was with great admiration that I watched Derek McGrath build something special in Waterford over the past five years and it's sad to see him go.

Having coached a lot of the players in De La Salle College, he had the buy-in straight away and through thorough organisation, he fostered a belief that took them a long way, nearly all the way.

Things didn't work out for him this year and on a quiet moment on a park bench looking out over the Quays, if he thought about his greatest misfortune it would be that Tom Devine was missing for last year's All-Ireland final given what he has shown this year.

Shane and Kieran Bennett opting out this year would have really hurt as well, the loyalty that Derek showed didn't look to be reciprocated.

The sweeper system divides opinion, but I played in the Munster final seven years ago when they conceded seven goals and were beaten out the gate - there was nothing entertaining about that for Waterford. Something had to change and he took the plunge.

Having since been involved with teams, I have some respect for what he has done. He put a style in place that suited the players at his disposal, they were all that mattered to him and he's a master salesperson to get that across.

It won't be long before he's back in the game. Anybody who's got the passion to get off the fence that the rest of us are sitting on and manage a top inter-county team, they have to be admired. I'm sure we haven't seen the last of him.

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