Liam Cahill was not looking for excuses after Waterford’s Munster Championship loss to Clare on Sunday afternoon.
The Deise manager held his hands up and accepted they were beaten by the better team. The 2020 All-Ireland finalists simply did not reach the required intensity.
“We could have been beaten by a lot more to be honest,” said Cahill after the four-point defeat.
“That was one of the flattest performances of my reign here. Bitterly disappointed. Can’t really put my finger on it to be honest.
“We came up short in a lot of areas. We found it very hard to win breaking ball in the middle of the field. When we tried to take it on and break the lines a little, we failed. And, you know, passes didn’t go to hand.
“There was a movement on our puck-outs, but when you’re looking in at a flat team, it’s very, very hard to try and make the positional changes to correct these things. We tried desperately to get energy on the field. We probably did there finishing up near the end and credit to the subs that came on. Bitterly disappointing day for me and the players.”
Clare down Deise in Munster opener
Waterford are now heading for the qualifiers, and the Tipperary native knows they will need to raise their game.
First of all, starting jerseys will be up for grabs at training.
“They have to be,” he said. “I have to throw everything at this now. I’m going to look at it really stringently and rigorously because ultimately too many lads failed today. Too many players failed today for my liking.
“I have 37 on the squad and they’re all putting in great work. We had 11 guys training earlier this morning that trained really, really hard. They must be looking in at that saying, ‘what have I to do to get into the squad?’.
“I’ll be rewarding any player that puts their hand up over the next fortnight or three weeks for a qualifier because at this stage I’ve nothing to lose. I’m going to throw everything at it between now and then.”
The Suir-siders were missing several key players, including Conor Prunty, Jamie Barron and Tadhg de Burca through injury, but Cahill was in no mood to blame the defeat on those absentees.
“They’re all massive players. That goes without saying,” he said.
“They’re big game players. Hard to replace them. But we’ve trawled the club scene in Waterford and I really felt we’ve a good strong panel assembled. I know we were without them through injury, and what have you, but we had guys stepping in to take on the mantle and well equipped to do it. the long and short of it, experienced players like that are hard to replace.
“But learnings again today for those younger fellas. Because it was a tough place for the majority of that game.”
Lohan: Improvements needed drastically
Clare boss Brian Lohan was thrilled to pick up his first Munster Championship victory as manager, but knows 22 wides will not be satisfactory next Sunday against Tipperary.
“It was a bit frantic [at the end]. That’s what happens when you start missing shots that you’d normally put over. There’s a little bit of panic sets in. I don’t know what our wide count was but our wide count and our decision making probably needs to be improved on, fairly drastically,” he said.
“We’re happy enough with how our lads played. Everyone has a job to do when you come down to Thurles. If one person doesn’t do their job, you’re going to be in trouble. So all our lads did the job pretty well today.”
The Premier County lie in wait, and Lohan is fully aware that Liam Sheedy will have done his homework ahead of next weekend.
“We’ve got a match under our belts, a good game out in Thurles against good opposition,” he added.
“So we’ll learn a bit more about our team and then I suppose, against that, the Tipp lads are sitting at home watching that, able to do their analysis, able to pick us apart.”
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