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Tuesday 20 November 2018

Stars fell out of sky in McGrath's last year

UNLUCKY: Derek McGrath. Pic: Sportsfile
UNLUCKY: Derek McGrath. Pic: Sportsfile

At a press briefing back in March, Derek McGrath ambled off down a tangent - as he regularly does - on a sporting theme.

During his digression, McGrath expressed his great admiration for the Mayo footballers.

"I'd just be impressed how Mayo do their business in terms of going back all the time and just going at it all the time," he noted.

"They're fairly relentless. I think people are afraid to say they're gone as well because they know there's more in them."

That relentlessness, the myopic devotion to keeping on keeping on, has been a trademark of McGrath's five-year stretch as Waterford hurling manager but there is a sense now that tomorrow's trip to Thurles could be the last act of an engaging stewardship.

If it is, McGrath can feel hard done by.

That rather than aligning in what he had regularly and publicly said would be his last year in the job, his stars fell out of the sky.

That list of ten absent players, the forced concession of home advantage in their two designated home matches in a cut-throat Munster SHC and the bizarrely unfair decision to award Tipperay a goal in their draw two weeks ago.

All issues that wrecked Waterford's 2018 and all out of McGrath's control.

In that interview back in March, McGrath went on to speak about his own perception of success.

"If I was talking to some of the lads," he said, "they might say it's all about the medal.

"But my personal opinion is no, it's about what you give to it while you're there and when you walk away from it, have you given it everything that you have?

"That's okay with me," he added.

If tomorrow does prove to be his last match in charge, McGrath will at least have that to comfort him through the rest of summer after a brutally luckless final year.

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