Derek McGrath on beating Kilkenny: "There was a certain amount of pressure on us"

Waterford manager discusses the winning of the game with Off The Ball's Oisin Langan

Derek McGrath, Waterford,

Waterford’s manager Derek McGrath celebrates after the game ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

In the end, Waterford were able to overcome Kilkenny in a Championship hurling match for only the first time since 1959 on Saturday.

But what did Waterford manager Derek McGrath learn from the period in the game where his side saw an eight point lead vanish with 11 minutes of normal time to go.

He spoke to Off The Ball's Oisin Langan and admitted that there was a weight of expectation heading into the match.

"I think the way history was heavy on our heads, on all our shoulders, there was a certain amount of pressure on us - not in terms of the 58 years but just in terms of our own performance. We just felt laboured against Cork and we just wanted to get in some sort of sprightly performance and I think we got that."

On the match itself, he feels momentum was what saw the marked shift in performances between both sides as the Cats clawed their way back.

"Obviously people will point to the fact that we retreated the field, we chased the line. We didn't learn anything from last year's semi final when we were six points up as well but I think it was just a momentum shift in the game as much as anything else where Kilkenny are powering on. We were hoping to counter all night," he said, before touching on the counter plan.

"I think we found space because Kilkenny were pushing up on us and for me that was kind of crucial. If we could get our midfielders bombing on when we were only playing with however many forwards we were playing with and give Kevin and Jamie the licence to kind of go from deep - albeit as I said, not a football tactic - we opened them up doing that and very pleasing in that regard."   

However, what pleased McGrath was how Waterford showed resolve to stop Kilkenny's momentum and rally back in extra time to secure the 4-23 to 2-22 victory at Semple Stadium.

"It was a big momentum shift in terms of Kilkenny's favour and to be able to reapply ourselves, readjust ourselves into extra time was very pleasing, I have to say," he said.