Tuesday 25 October 2016

'We are still in line for the first Sunday in September - that hasn't changed': Déise's Connors

Waterford defender Noel Connors.
Waterford defender Noel Connors.

There was a shudder and a little spikiness from management and players on the Waterford hurling team when it was put to them, following a defensively adroit performance in the League quarter-final win against Galway, that there might be even a little justification in comparing their methods with those of Donegal in football.

And here, a few days after their Munster final loss to Tipperary in Thurles, we had Noel Connors doing likewise, though in a totally different context.

"Jimmy McGuinness was probably one of the first individuals to talk of a three-year plan or a four-year plan," Connors points out. "And it was probably something that other managers looked at and said 'he's prefectly right'.


"You're not going to change something in the space of six months or 12 months," Connors continues.

"It's a learning process for everyone.

"The first year Derek (McGrath, Waterford manager) went in I think that he felt himself he had a lot to learn and we as players had a lot to learn.

"A lot of flak went in to Derek but we as players are the crowd that should bear the brunt of it because we we're taking the field.

"He's after learning so much and we're after learning so much in the space of 12 months that it's stuff that you can take forward for the rest of your careers."

Which may sound like something of a cop-out when your team has just lost in a Munster SHC final or a little time-buyer.

But Connors rejects that notion.

"It's not as if it's a safety net for next year or anything like that, ultimately we're all getting older," he accepts.


"There's a few fellas that probably will be coming in and out next year and you want to be successful with the lads you are going out and training with, you always go in with the ambition at the start of the year to be successful with the lads that you have trained with.

"You always go in with the ambition at the start of the year to be as successful as possible.

"You want to win every trophy, you want to be a small bit greedy about things.

"You have to take things on the chin when you get setbacks, get up and dust yourself off and be better than what you were.

"But you have to be a realist.

"You can't just be an optimist and say that Derek is going to go in and change things in the space of a couple of months.

"You have to be realistic and say that it's going to take a couple of years for this Waterford team to realise its potential."

Before the season, an All-Ireland semi-final appearance would have been viewed by all associated with the Déise as a discernible sign of accelerated progress.

Ditto a League title or a Munster final appearance.

"Every time you get 'bet' is a horrible feeling, particularly adding fuel to the fire is the sense it was a Munster title on the line," Connors admits.

"We always had the aspirations of winning a Munster title.

"But we are still in line for the first Sunday in September - that hasn't changed," concludes Connors.

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