Flannery calls on Deise to dismiss doom and gloom
FORMER Waterford corner-back Brian Flannery is baffled by a 'fatalistic' mood in the county ahead of Saturday's must-win All-Ireland SHC qualifier against Offaly in Tullamore.
Flannery, a 2002 Munster SHC medallist, also believes that retired forward John Mullane has increased the pressure on players and management by warning of dire consequences should Waterford lose.
And Tipp native Flannery has also insisted that Eoin Kelly retired too early from inter-county hurling.
Flannery's former Mount Sion clubmate Kelly has been in sparkling form for Passage in the Waterford championship and he scored 3-2 against Roanmore recently, with all three goals coming in the first half.
Flannery believes that Kelly was too hasty when he called time on his inter-county career.
He said: "Absolutely – he's only 30 years of age and he's the best-performing club player in Waterford at the moment. I've been to most of the club games and in the two or three rounds that have been played in the senior championship, he's been player of the round on each occasion. That's how good he's playing at the moment."
With Shane Walsh and Brian O'Halloran ruled out through injury – and Kelly and Mullane retired – Waterford manager Michael Ryan is stretched for attacking resources as he prepares for the trip to O'Connor Park. And Flannery believes that Mullane has heaped further pressure on Waterford to gain a positive result.
Flannery explained: "I was surprised at the tone and over-emphasis on the implications of losing. Even talking about the implications of losing is the wrong way to be approaching the game. Let's go and play the game confidently and win it.
"We're a Division 1A team, we've won Munster finals and played in Munster and All-Ireland semi-finals.
"That's the only thing they should be focusing on – playing knockout championship, doing what they have to do, winning the game and moving on.
"Yes, absolutely respect Offaly's performance against Kilkenny, take cognisance of it, review it and examine it, but then go and perform yourselves."
Flannery added: "There's an aggressive sense of gloom in the county at the moment, unnecessarily so.
"It's almost fatalistic and, from talking to supporters, there's a sense of fear that I don't think is representative of the facts. There's a huge fear that we're going to lose to Offaly.
"Respect Offaly, yes, but surely Waterford have been playing at a higher level."