“We’d a really super session when we got back together on Tuesday night,” said Waterford boss Paraic Fanning as the countdown to Sunday’s clash with Limerick intensifies.
“We’ve trained really well in general in the build-up to the Championship, obviously we reached the National League Final and picked up some really good results along the way against quality opposition; then we lost to Clare by a point and last Sunday in Thurles, particularly in the last 10 minutes, sure that was very disappointing for us all. But we’d a really good session on Tuesday, I have to say, the lads came into us in good form and determined to work hard, which they did. We’d another good session on Friday and today (Sunday) as well so I think we’ve done our best to put the Tipp match behind us.
Paraic Fannng issuing instructions during the Munster SHC defeat to Tipperary in Semple Stadium. 		| Photos: Noel Browne
We obviously had to have a look back at the game as well and discuss some of the key points that came out of it, but we’ve four points to play for. If we can get a win – and we saw last weekend what happened in Limerick, they need the win too after a big challenge laid down by Cork – so if we can get a result at the weekend, we’ll be on two points, Limerick won’t have anything and we’d be ahead of them on the head to head so with four points still up for grabs, we still have a lot to play for.” Whether he’s talking things up quite naturally from a morale perspective or otherwise, the Mount Sion clubman was on the money. Win this Sunday and Waterford will travel to Páirc Uí Chaoimh with something to play for.
“Tipperary got a run on us towards the end of the game and it certainly didn’t do a whole lot for our score difference but we can’t dwell on that now. We can only deal with what’s right in front of us and we know it’s going to be a significant challenge. They’re the All-Ireland champions, they’re the League champions and they’d love to win the Munster Championship to complete the set. We’re all chasing the same thing. Limerick are minus seven themselves so the score difference so if we get a win on Sunday then we’ll improve things for ourselves on that front too and if it comes down to head to head, then that’ll do us the world of good. And the way thing have worked out, the two teams we’re directly in competition with now are our next two opponents so we don’t need much motivation in terms of what we know we need to do this Sunday.”
And now it all comes down to a massive occasion on home soil against the best team in the country. “We know our backs are to the wall. Our season is on the line and this is a big match, it is what it is. We know what we can control: we have to go out and deliver a performance and if we get that then we’ll see where that take us. In terms of Limerick coming to Walsh Park, I feel it’s going to be a big challenge for them as well. We still have a lot of confidence in ourselves; we’ve a lot of good work put over a sustained period of time and we have to bring it to the fore this weekend in a big way. None of us are blind to the task that’s facing us but we’ve got to approach this match in a positive frame of mind. We know what we have to do. We know what the supporters would like us to do. We need to sustain our good passages of hurling for lengthier periods than we’ve produced in both of the past two games, and when we played well against Clare and Tipperary, we showed the quality we have.
We know it’s in the lads. We just need to make those purple patches count a little more and we probably need to hang a little tougher during those times when Limerick will have possession and territory. We’ve a job to do, we need to believe in ourselves. I know what’s in these lads. We need to produce a big display on Sunday and give the Waterford supporters something to shout about. If we do that, then we’ll have kept our season alive. There’s still a lot to play for, we need to produce a big performance and that’s our goal.”