Saturday 18 November 2017

Fitzgerald's tactical shortfall cost Deise -- Shanahan

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Tipperary's All-Ireland win over Kilkenny may have opened doors for other counties hoping to make the breakthrough, but it won't coax Dan Shanahan out of retirement.

The Waterford star walked away after the Deise lost their semi-final to the eventual champions last month. And while the Lismore man believes Tipp's win offers hope, another year on the Waterford bench doesn't appeal for a player who will be 34 next year.

Although Shanahan was keen not to be overly critical of manager Davy Fitzgerald at the 'Pace Yourself Training Day' at the RDS yesterday, it was clear the Clareman's tactics and decision not to pick him rankled.

"I always knew I wouldn't start. I know where I stand," Shanahan said.

"It's hard to keep 35 fellas happy in a team and I'm no different when I'm not starting. I wouldn't say there was a personality clash, but we beg to differ on a few things. I found his training extremely good, but I thought when it came to a tactical game -- Waterford don't do tactics.

"I'd be the first to admit it if I was going poorly in training or going poorly this year by my own standards. But I was going fairly well. Myself and Ken McGrath were two of the best forwards who weren't playing on the team, that's just my point of view.

"I thought the two of us were going well enough in training for the two of us -- or either one of us -- to start on the day, but it didn't happen."

As well as wanting to start, Shanahan believes Fitzgerald got Waterford's tactics wrong.

"Waterford didn't look like getting goals this year," he said. "When a manager comes in and changes things so that we might stop leaking goals a bit, my view is that, even if we leak goals, we are good enough to get them as well.

"Our style changed completely and he brought that in and when a manager changes your style, we backed that completely, I just didn't think that it was good for Waterford hurling.

"The manager sat down and studied all the stuff and thought this is the way we can beat teams. Personally, for me, it isn't, it wasn't."

Shanahan retired with four Munster championship medals, but the big one escaped him. And he admits he regrets never bridging a 51-year gap for his county.

"It's a very hard thing to do, to win an All-Ireland," he said. "You'd be going mad (watching Tipp win on Sunday). You were only a few points away from it yourself. This year, they were better than us. (Liam) Sheedy had his homework done and they were better on the day."

Irish Independent

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