Redemption will be one of the key messages emerging from the Waterford dressing room in Semple Stadium this Sunday as the third instalment of their epic series takes centre stage.
Austin Gleeson has been named to start at centre-back for Derek McGrath’s side and the exciting young prospect is anticipating a stronger Waterford performance with more players available for selection this time round.
“You have Maurice, you have Pauric, you have Stephen Bennett is kind of getting back into it as well and I suppose Shane (Bennett) didn’t really have his best day the last day so I suppose there are four forwards to come back into it. It’s a headache for the management. I wouldn’t like to be in their position of who they want to play. We are looking forward to it and hopefully everyone is getting back fit and we have no injury concerns going into the game.”
This year the Déise are more adept when it comes to their own system and their work in the gym over the winter is paying off according to the Mount Sion man. “We are kind of starting well and better than last year. It’s not really much of a difference but I know we’ve all kind of been in the gym a bit more this year too, that’s after hitting a lot of the lads. We still have a long way to go yet but hopefully we’re on the right track”.
Sticking to this system requires a high level of fitness. “We’re trying to get fit enough that we can get up and down all day but it’s more so the players trying to develop it than the management because the management know exactly what way they want to go about it and what way they want to implement it. It’s just for the players to get into their heads how to go about it. I think it’s starting to kind of recognise with a lot of players but we still have things to learn and mistakes to cut out because at the moment it’s nowhere near perfected yet. We’ve a long way to go but we’re working on it and seeing where it goes” Gleeson added.
Despite having to play to particular tactics and gameplans, the WIT student says each player is given freedom to take initiative in different instances once the first fifteen minutes have passed. “When we go out on the pitch the first 10 or 15 minutes is in your head, you have to do this, you have to do that, get into the game and then after that it’s just freedom. He’s just gives you the license, not to do what you want, but don’t be stopped by any kind of a system that’s in place. Go out and use your own initiative and whatever happens, happens”.
In their preparations, the nine time Munster champions have attempted to ensure they have a plan b for any scenario that may arise. Austin admits this has helped players to be more at ease in the heat of battle. “It’s a task to do it for 70 minutes and that’s why he’s trying so many fellas in so many different positions, so if one fella has to come off with an injury or whatever, another fella can just slot in and he knows exactly what to do. That’s the way he’s probably looking at it so just hopefully it keeps going.”
Looking at his opponents for Sunday, Austin is hopeful the Waterford management will be able to match Davy Fitzgerald’s tactics on the line. “Ah, sure look, they are always going to have something in the locker because they have a couple of lads to come back in from injury. Look, whatever happens with them we have to apply our game and hopefully it works out for us, but we know it’s a massive task whatever way they go about it. A couple of lads know Davy and he always has a different plan, and that kind of way. We don’t know what he’s going to do. He could throw anything at us and we just have to be ready for it, and hopefully the lads are ready for the tactics battle.”