Shanahan praise for pain threshold of old colleague 'Brick'
Waterford selector Dan Shanahan has paid tribute to his fomer team-mate Michael "Brick" Walsh for playing through the pain barrier against Wexford in Sunday's promotion decider.
Walsh played the game with two suspected broken ribs picked up at training but concealed the discomfort with another highly effective display as a half-forward playing around the middle.
Shanahan described his former captain as "phenomenal" for what he did.
"He's playing in there with a couple of broken ribs and to give the performance he gave today, it just says everything about the man that he is. He has a young family at home to think about and (considering) what he goes through, he is a great man."
Waterford's win has brought a very productive Division 1B campaign for them to a successful conclusion but the 2007 "Hurler of the Year" is not certain if it will please everyone.
"It was disappointing coming down from 1A last year and we took a lot of stick after being relegated so we'll take the claps on the back now," he said.
"But I don't think you'll ever answer the critics," he suggested. "We won today but they'll still have something to say (that)we got no goal or this fella wasn't good.
"We believe in what we have in that dressing room and they believe in us which is very important.
"It's great to win. To go to Wexford Park and beat them is tough any day and we showed a bit of bottle, The substitutes we brought on had a great influence on the game."
Waterford have rebuilt quickly after losing their way last summer and the concentration on youth, heralded as a 'change of direction' by manager Derek McGrath, has paid some quick dividends.
And it's the performances of their central defensive players, Tomas De Burca and Barry Coughlan, allied to Gleeson's exuberance, which has really laid a platform for them.
So far in the current campaign, five of the six defenders have started all five league games with just Gleeson being forced to sit out the game against Antrim because of injury.
And in those five games they have conceded just one goal from open play to Offaly, the other two goals coming courtesy of David Reidy penalties for Limerick.
McGrath admitted that the management got it wrong about Coughlan in last year's championship.
"I would say I was very naive myself. I probably discredited him last year, I have had Barry at school since he was 12 years of age and he has taken down some of the best colleges players over the years in terms of man-marking. And in the Waterford championship he takes down all the best players.
"Yet last year, when Alan Cadogan gave him a bit of trouble, we substituted him. We didn't play him the next day and his confidence dropped. We should have persisted with him."