Careful nurturing of heroes key to Deise's future
THAT All-Ireland minor final victory for Waterford yesterday is something the players will treasure for the rest of their lives.
I was delighted for the lads and it's going to give the county an enormous lift.
To a man, they were all fantastic but Austin Gleeson at centre-back gave the stand-out performance.
Patrick Curran and Stephen Bennett popped up with big scores too and Michael Kearney had a super game. Colm Roche was also excellent but the key score was Kearney's in the 44th minute, at a time when Galway were mounting a revival.
A word too on Shane Bennett, who was sent off for two yellow cards in the semi-final; he was outstanding in a solid defence.
What really pleased me was the manner in which the lads pushed on with the game in the melting pot.
And in a general sense, the players got their just rewards as Waterford have been the best team in this competition over the summer.
Similar to Clare in the senior game, Waterford could have been six or seven points up at half-time but the loss of Brian Burke from the starting line-up before the game was a big blow to Galway.
For the Westerners, I was impressed with Darragh Dolan and Ronan O'Meara, while Brian Molloy was very solid on frees.
Shane Cooney didn't have the influence that he had against Limerick but that's due to Sean Power and his management team, who got their tactics spot on. Roche was on Cooney, along with a succession of different markers.
What this result tells you is that Waterford hurling has a great future. But it's important to nurture these guys properly. I wouldn't bow to pressure and throw them into the senior panel next year.
Patience is the key and if treated right, we could get six or seven very good seniors from this crop.