Thursday 19 April 2018

Pressure on players to dig Déise out of hole - Gleeson

Austin Gleeson accepts that players must stand up and be counted. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Austin Gleeson accepts that players must stand up and be counted. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Finally, Waterford are up and running.

Three games passed in the hurling league before last year's beaten All-Ireland finalists grabbed their first win in the league and even that came with a caveat.

Their hosts Cork were forced to play with 14 men for much of the game in Páirc Uí Chaoimh last Sunday afternoon after Seamus Harnedy was shown a straight red card in the 25th minute. That detail matters little to the Déise.

"I didn't see what happened with the sending-off," Waterford's star man Austin Gleeson said afterwards.

"I just thought it was a free then I saw Seamie Harnedy getting the red. We didn't change our game-plan from what we set out to do whether they had 15 men or 12 men on the field - we were setting a drill in place and were sticking by it."

After their poor start to the league, Gleeson insisted that it was time for the players to take more responsibility for their performances.

Everything was in place for them to perform, he said, but the Mount Sion man suggested that they hadn't played to their own levels of expectation to this point.

And he also pointed out that the Déise may have stolen a march in the psychological stakes as last Sunday's game could be a precursor for a relegation play-off down the line with both the Rebels and the Déise occupying the bottom two positions in Division 1A heading into the final round of games.

"We went back training on Tuesday and we said to each other more so than management that we need to start digging ourselves out of a hole instead of relying on the (management) to take us out of it.

"They are putting everything in place for us and it was us not getting the win and doing our jobs. It is good to get the win down here and looking at the results elsewhere, you never know, we could be here again in two weeks against the same opposition in the relegation battle but we'll see what happens next week."

Gleeson has been used both in attack and defence by Waterford this year. On Sunday, he spent more time around the half-back line and chipped in with two fine points from play as his side emerged five-point winners.

Trust

"Look, it's something that we tried against Tipp and I was back up (in the forwards) against Kilkenny last weekend and back there (in the backs) again today. It's a place that I'm happy to get any jersey from 1 to 15 and anyone would say that as well.

"We just trust what is going on and we have to keep going for the rest of the year and give everything we have."

Waterford again deployed their much talked about 'sweeper' system in the win over Cork. But Gleeson insists outside influences don't affect the squad.

"Being honest, we are in our own little bubble. We read it but we brush it off if we do read it at all. It's something that we try not to bring in because it could cause upsets and murmurs in the camp but we are all together and we are all giving it our all so no matter what other teams do against us, we are going to set out our own stall and dictate the game from the start and see how it goes."

Waterford play Clare next weekend and will likely be in action in a relegation play-off the following weekend. And while Waterford have made no secret of the fact that they are aiming to play their best hurling come the summer time, Gleeson insists that doesn't mean they have taken this league campaign lightly.

"It's a weird one because we are going out to win every game we play. It looks like from the outside that we are not giving it our all.

"But we actually are; there was a comment passed by one of the lads last week that maybe we were trying too hard that nothing is coming off for us and everything is just not falling in place for us.

But we have to stick to the process and get fitter for the summer. When the ball is hopping hopefully we can dictate something during the games.

"There's a new championship structure and we don't know whether we are playing our home games at home or away yet so we are leaving that to the county board and management, we are ploughing away."

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