Saturday 18 August 2018

WATCH: 'Love, care, pride, togetherness' - Waterford boss delivers emotional and passionate homecoming speech

Derek McGrath on Sunday and (inset) with his son Finn at the homecoming
Derek McGrath on Sunday and (inset) with his son Finn at the homecoming
Waterford manager Derek McGrath during the All Ireland hurling final

Waterford boss Derek McGrath has gained many admirers for his dignified demeanour since his side were beaten in the All Ireland final by Galway on Sunday.

This week's Throw In panel lauded the Waterfordman, with Colm Keys saying he and Dan Shanahan "ooze class and charisma in everything they do".

McGrath has yet to decide if he will stay on as Déise manager and at last night's homecoming he delivered a rousing, emotional speech to the thousands who turned out.

McGrath talked about the immense work the panel have put in over the past four years and thanked family, friends, partners, the county board and sponsors.

But when he turned his attention to the Waterford fans, there was a noticeable change in his tone as the passion levels increased.

"Waterford people are a mirror image of this team. This team are humble in nature, intelligent in what they do, absolutely relentless in trying to nurture and create a spirit for each other. Like the Waterford people," said McGrath as the crowd cheered.

"When the Waterford people face adversity, they fight back, they say, 'We're not taking no for an answer', we refuse to give in, we refuse to yield, and we refuse to accept defeat.

At the end of the day, the parallels in terms of our chase, or our absolute obsession with the upgrade of Walsh Park, university status, a cath lab, all the things we've chased as a group are the same things we chase as an absolutely obsessive group of individuals behind me, so long may that continue!

"We've often said over four years, as a group, to each other... we've spoken about the whole pastoral element of what we've tried to do, the whole issue of love, and care, and pride, and building a relentless spirit built on togetherness. Building a team.

"Not a team that's from West Waterford. Not a team that's from East Waterford. Not a team that's from De La Salle, Ballygunner, Passage, Ballysaggart, Ballyduff, Lismore. A team that's built and is absolutely centred on being from Waterford - where we're all from. And ultimately that's what it's all about.

"So, thanks again, UP THE DÉISE!"

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