Why Liam Cahill and Waterford are a match made in heaven
"The Waterford people just want to see a good, hard-working and honest team that they'll support, like they always have done down through the years, through thick and thin."
Those were the words of Déise Bainisteoir Liam Cahill after his team defeated his native Tipperary by five points on Sunday afternoon and if a good, hard-working and honest team was what he was looking for when he took over this job at the start of last season, he's certainly got it down in the sunny south east.
"That's really Liam Cahill's team in a nut-shell," says Colm Parkinson.
You look at someone like Calum Lyons and you see a supreme athlete jumping out of his skin. Austin Gleeson, who often blew hot and cold before Cahill's arrival, has added more consistency to his game while the likes of Jack Prendergarst, Stephen Bennett, Darragh Lyons and Jack Fagan to name but a few, have all kicked on considerably.
It was on Monday's GAA Hour Show when Paul Murphy, Damien Hayes and Parkinson discussed Waterford's form, their style and their golden gun of a corner forward.
"He just seems to have this Waterford team ticking over. Sometimes, having been in an All-Ireland final, teams can struggle the following year but it doesn't seem to be affecting Waterford. There's a lot of competition for places," says Murphy.
"They seem to be learning each week, like they sat back a bit further this week having conceded the few goals against Galway. 'Right this suits us, this doesn't,' and that's exactly what Liam Cahill wants them to be doing. The one thing that is there throughout then is their application, their work-rate and how hard they're going. Things mightn't work out for them some days, but they're going in the right direction and they're a great team to watch really," the Kilkenny man added.
For Damien Hayes, it's the style, skill and speed of Dessie Hutchinson that will make them a difficult team to stop, with Hutchinson's volleyed goal against Tipperary a sign of the confidence he's playing with.
"Waterford are a really exciting team to watch. If they can keep it tight at the back and not leak as many goals, they'll go a good distance again in the championship. They took it by storm in last year's championship but Liam Cahill and his management team have done a tremendous job.
"Dessie has upped it a notch since last year. He can light up this championship just like he's done in this League."
Dessie Hutchinson's volley is one of the great Walsh Park goals What a run by Jack Prendergast to create it pic.twitter.com/8RmXG1Uijk
— Tomás McCarthy (@tomasmcc) June 14, 2021
Paul Murphy can see the Ballygunner club man going to town this summer.
"We were impressed with him last year, but I think he has even improved again this year. He's marked the best defenders, the likes of Cathal Barrett. Nobody can match for his pace and I think he'll see now, that he's as good as what's out there in terms of corner forwards. That'll give him belief in the championship and if he comes good on any day, I think he's capable of scoring two or three goals. Any day he's on the pitch, for a spectator, it's a good day."
In Waterford, they have plenty to look forward to.