has played down talk of Waterford
taking their place among the bonafide
contenders for the MacCarthy Cup,
despite Sunday’s impressive victory
“We still have a lot to learn,” the
Passage man said, sounding a cautionary
note in the wake of a second
successive win over the Rebels.
“We were sluggish for the first 20
minutes. If that was in an All-Ireland
final or a semi-final, we probably
would have been dead and buried.
“You saw what happened to Dublin
(against Galway), they were dead and
buried in the space of 10, 15 minutes,
3-8 down. That could have been us
today. We were fortunate to get the
breaks when we were struggling
during the first half. I wouldn’t really
think we’re contenders at present.”
But Connors, echoing Maurice
Shanahan’s comments, added: “The
one thing is we didn’t panic. We’ve
been painted with the youth tag,
which we are, but we have plenty of
experience throughout that youth.
“We’ve a very, young team but
we’ve plenty of experience with colleges,
with Fitzgibbons and Hartys
and Croke Cups. That came to the
fore when we needed it.”
Noel continued: “Like Derek said,
we’re probably going to hit a slump
in our play. We’ve been at a peak for
a number of weeks now, coming in to
the Galway game, the Tipp game and
the League Final.
“It’s like everything, you’re going
to have a down time. We’re hoping it
won’t happen for as long as possible. I
wouldn’t think we’re going to be All-
Ireland contenders – you still have
fantastic teams out there.
“You still have Clare who got bet in
the first round, so many other teams.
What Galway showed was fantastic.
I’m sure Dublin are going to come
out fighting and kicking – I wouldn’t
fancy playing them in a qualifier.”
As for the Munster Final on July
12th, any preference for Tipperary
or Limerick? “The opposition isn’t
going to make much difference,” Noel
“Munster Championship is like
Ulster football – it’s hot and heavy
and ultimately a championship match
that goes 100 miles an hour. You
wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
We’re really looking forward to it.”
And what’s the plan for the next
Championship run out? “Simple
really. Stick to the fundamentals.