Sunday 22 April 2018

Tipp don't get credit they deserve, claims Déise boss Derek McGrath

Waterford manager Derek McGrath
Waterford manager Derek McGrath

Tomas McCarthy

Waterford manager Derek McGrath claims that Tipperary are a team on a mission this season as the countdown begins to Sunday's Munster hurling final.

He witnessed the Premier's 16-point thumping of Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds and argues that this current crop of Tipp players don't receive the plaudits that they deserve.

"They would have gained confidence from going to Limerick, silencing the crowd down there and just being ravenous in terms of their whole work rate and their overall play. I think some of the players playing with Tipperary are some of the best players that have ever played the game.

"That's how highly I would rate Tipperary. I read a very interesting article with Brendan Maher last year where he spoke about the hurt that some Tipperary players had felt as a result of criticism within their own county and it was a heartfelt interview.

"That honesty is evident in the Tipperary team and there's a real sense of a team on a mission."

Eamon O'Shea's strikeforce returned 4-19 from play in that provincial semi-final and McGrath acknowledges the scale of the task ahead for the Déise defence.

"When you have a forward line with Brendan Maher, Bonner Maher, Bubbles Dwyer, Seamie Callanan, Niall O'Meara, Jason Forde, Lar Corbett from the bench and Noel McGrath, please God, to come back into it, I think you have brilliant players and brilliant stick men.

"We have good players as well and I'm not just trying to build up one team. I just don't think that Tipperary players have got the credit that they deserve over the years."

John O'Dwyer produced a man-of-the-match display against Limerick but McGrath says that they cannot afford to place their focus on one particular player.

"I don't think we can. Invariably what happens with Tipperary is that when you negate someone they have the back-up for someone else to come to the forefront.


"I was asked before the semi-final of the National League if we had special plans for Seamus Callanan.

"I made the point that last year he got 3-8 off the Galway full-back in the qualifiers, 11 points in the quarter-final, 2-4 off Shane O'Neill in the semi-final, five from play off JJ Delaney in the drawn match and 2-5 in the replay.

"The sense of pressure on anyone marking Seamie Callanan was insignificant on our behalf because if he does damage he's no different to any of the top-quality backs out there. These fellas are quality no matter who's on them."

The league champions availed of a run-out at Semple Stadium over the weekend. McGrath says that the players only played a small part in the choice of venue.

"They didn't have a massive say. It was a consultative thing. We actually made the decision in advance of the Tipperary-Limerick game.

"Initially, we asked ourselves what's best for us and what's best for the team. The more and more it went on, we saw Thurles as a venue.

"I think Michael Cleary's article where he referred to Thurles as a venue for the Munster final, he was nearly confirming what our thought process was." He agrees that the decision has helped to reconnect with the Waterford supporters.

"There was a massive Waterford feeling in terms of, 'Don't tell me you're going to Limerick'. It was very hard to avoid.

"I think all year we have shut the outside out. It's a knock-on effect of us going to Thurles that the public are happier."

Irish Independent

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