Question (Q): Tom, it’s been disappointing to see the Waterford football year peter out the way it did, in terms of the latter games in the National League, the defeat in Thurles and the second half today. Your thoughts?
Tom McGlinchey (T McG):
“We’d a great January and when you look back on the year, people might scoff at it, but we won the McGrath Cup, and that’s not something you can take lightly. We beat Cork and we beat a star-studded UCC team and if you said at the start of the year that you’d beat Cork and win the McGrath Cup, you’d be very happy with that. And when the players sit down and reflect, I hope they’ll appreciate the McGrath Cup that they won.
“And, maybe for next year and building for the future that we’ll get our strongest panel out; I think at the start of the year we had our strongest panel together, without doubt, but it was just unfortunate as the season went on…and I suppose that’s the problem with weaker counties, the lure of going over to the States is there for them. And we were just unlucky with injuries and people that left the panel. We’d a good start to the year and hopefully we can build on that.”
Q: You certainly weren’t helped by the number of withdrawals in the past few months – 14 in total, and you couldn’t field two more of your key players today due to a family wedding, and we all know that family comes first, so that was very difficult to counteract?
T McG:
“Well, the lads that are there and the effort that they’ve put in has been brilliant and I’ve said it time and time again in all the matches we played, and the few (three) matches we lost (in the League) by two points which could have went either way.
“And at half-time today, we were in a good, strong position but as the second half went on we just didn’t have the legs or the experience to bring in, of players who had been available to us during the year but weren’t available to us (today) and yes, that is disappointing.
“In a county like Waterford, you’ve a low base to start with initially like, and when you lose that many players, it does get hard. But as I said, the lads put in a phenomenal effort. Hopefully they’ll stick at it and give it another go next year.”
Q: But you’re effectively doing the job with arm tied behind your back when that many players aren’t available to you…
T McG:
“Ah yeah. That’s the reality of it. You’d nearly be dreading getting the phone calls sometimes about who’s going where now but that’s the hand you’re dealt with and as a manager you’ve got to take these things on board and if you let it get to you then you’d become very disheartened, especially for the players who do stay around and put in the effort and that’s why we’re hoping that, for the coming year, players will commit to Waterford.
“This is a long term project, from Under-14 up – the County Board are looking at that and how they’re going to develop players to play football.
“As for the senior panel, the players that are there know there’s a huge effort required, but for some other players? I don’t know are they willing to put in that effort, do they want to put in that effort? But if you do put in the effort, you do get the rewards, and there are so many good players in Waterford that if they do give it a go for a couple of years that they would get their reward.”
Q: We could do with some players from the 19 to 22-year-old bracket filtering into the senior panel, as we’ve not had too many players from that age breaking into the senior panel over the past few years…
T McG: “I know the Under-21s had a bad result against Clare, but the effort that Ger Power put into that team was fantastic and they really worked hard. They scoured the county to see who was available and sometimes players don’t commit to it for one reason or another. “Maybe playing inter-county football for Waterford isn’t as attractive as maybe playing hurling but the players that are here within the county: if we get the best players that are available to play for their inter-county team, I think Waterford would have a bright future in football, and it will take time and it will take patience. And while today is disappointing, for a lot of those players this was their first Championship year, and some players that came in towards the latter end of the Championship such as Darren Guiry and Craig Guiry, they came up from the Junior panel and weren’t out of their depth at all whatsoever, so there are good footballers there and I just hope we’d get the best footballers available to us next year.”
Q: You’ve another year left to serve as Waterford manager: Do you foresee taking a different approach to things come 2016?
T McG: “Ah, no. I think the approach we took this year was quite good, but you can’t legislate for what’s going to happen. When you have 14 players that leave for one reason or the other, you can’t cope with that. And maybe some of the better players in the county aren’t playing for one reason or the other, and that’s something that people are going to have to take a look at.
“But now is not the time to be talking about what’s the plan for next year. Yes, of course we’ll have to sit down and go through it; I’ve just had a quick chat with members of the County Board and we said we’d sit down in the next week or two to sit down what’s going to happen in the coming year.
“But look, we’re disappointed, but as I said there was great excitement back in January, with some great wins up in Clashmore and the night we played UCC here, we’d a full stand and there was a great atmosphere around the place. They’re good players; they’re very good footballers but a Division Four team like Waterford needs all its best players available to you and, just unfortunately towards the latter end of our Championship we didn’t have them – but hopefully that will change next year.”