Derek McGrath says All-Ireland final as far away as ever for Waterford in the aftermath of crushing defeat

He does not think the natural progression is to make it to an All-Ireland final despite the success they have had recently

Derek McGrath said he was devastated after Waterford bowed out of the All-Ireland hurling series despite putting Kilkenny to the sword over two games in the semi-final.

Full of praise for his players, Kilkenny and the game as a sporting event, McGrath says he was unwilling to committ "in the cold, hard analysis" after the game what his side were lacking in order to secure an All-Ireland final.

"An accumulation of three years of thought and work that the lads put into it," he says in relation to his devastation.

"I'd normally be quite good at analysing it in my head, but I have to say, it's distant now," as the manager was unable to point his finger at any particular thing he noticed, although he did mention the six minute period at the end of the first half when Kilkenny nipped three crucial points.

A national league, a Munster final and now an All-Ireland semi-final with the next progression obviously being an All-Ireland final, but McGrath does not necessarily believe that is the case.

"It's as far away as it ever was in my opinion," he responds after being asked whether he thought Waterford would be back again in a similar situation.

"Brian Cody came into the dressing room last year, and he wasn't one bit patronising and he spoke about how hard it is to get back to a semi-final and that's why Kilkenny are as sharp as they are every year. They treat every opponent with absolute respect and that's the reason they are so competitive and motivated every year."

The U-21's winning an All-Ireland, which is something McGrath thinks will happen and that could raise expectation yet again. It's something the Waterford manager believes needs to be managed citing Limerick, who won three U-21's in a row and the change of intensity and pace in the senior game.