John Mullane says Liam Cahill now getting ‘just rewards’ for tough decision to turn native county down last Summer

Allianz Hurling League winning Waterford manager Liam Cahill, right, with coach Mikey Bevans. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Tony Considine

With the Allianz League done and dusted and the Dr Croke Cup residing in Waterford for a fourth time, it’s a quick turnaround to Championship hurling with only a single weekend off for the winners and runners-up Cork.

Both sides face into opening clashes on Sunday week with fascinating talking points around each game.

Cork’s first match is possibly the pick of the weekend with the Rebels taking on Limerick at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland final. Having also met in the Munster semi last season, with the Treaty coming out on top in both games, Cork will be hoping for an outcome more reflective of their 2-19 to 1-13 league win in February.

But two hours before that game throws in, Liam Cahill’s Deise will be welcomed into Walsh Park by a rapturous home crowd to face off against the Waterford manager’s native Tipperary in what is the most intriguing sub-plot of the day.

After two years in charge of the Suirsiders, resulting in an All-Ireland final and semi-final appearance, the former Tipp minor, U20 and U21 boss was widely expected to return home and take charge of the Premier after the departure of Liam Sheedy last summer.

Yet despite describing the opportunity as “a huge honour” and stating that his ambition to manage his native county “remains intact”, Cahill made the call to remain in Waterford with Colm Bonnar eventually appointed to the role.

And having seen his team finally claim silverware after seven losses across Munster, All-Ireland and league deciders since 2015, Desie legend John Mullane is full of appreciation for what was clearly a tough call for Cahill to make.

“It was a massive statement of intent for him to make that decision,” Mullane told The Throw-In podcast in association with Allianz.

“And there was massive appreciation from the players and supporters (for him) to go and make that difficult decision.

“Let's be honest, that's not an easy thing to do to turn down your own county when they come calling.

“But look, previous managers from within Tipperary turned it down and I think when you break it all down it was the right thing to do.”

Key to Cahill’s success so far has been Mikey Bevans with his retention and the fact that Cahill namechecked the coach who has been his right-hand man since first taking charge at the Tipp minors indicated Bevans’ importance

And Mullane was also keen to give acknowledgement to the Toomevara man ahead of their All-Ireland tilt.

“Why would he walk away from a Waterford project that himself and Mikey Bevans are after investing two years into and when they were knocking on the door?” he added.

“Year three of any project is possibly the year that a team possibly hits their peak under any management team.

“So for me, I think it was a no brainer and massive kudos to him for making that decision.

“He was justified by the weekend and got his just rewards. Please God there'll be more to come for himself and Mikey.”