Tommy Walsh was on OTB AM on Tuesday discussing Waterford, their fall from grace and what they need to do to improve.
Following a drop in form since their appearance in the 2017 All-Ireland final, Tommy Walsh thinks that the loss had drained them.
“Sometimes that can just suck the life out of you.”
“They went to the All-Ireland final in such high hopes, having not won the All-Ireland final since 1959 and everyone thought maybe this is their chance. When it came down to it, there was a point in that game when Waterford could have gone on and won it and missed a few chances and Limerick came back into the game.”
“I suppose the feeling afterwards was that was Waterford's chance, they really had their chance that day and never took it but I think they’re probably still feeling the effects of the hangover from that All-Ireland.”
The Kilkenny legend also thinks that Waterford’s biggest issue at the moment is their confidence and their lack of attack.
“They seem to be a team that is just totally beaten down. I said at the start of this year that they were going to put a serious push on the All-Ireland but I also said that was if the attacked it, kept their forwards up the field. I think this year they’ve even less forwards up there, in the Championship.”
The issue of Waterford not playing many forwards further up feeds in from their use of a sweeper system.
“One thing people don’t talk about is the sweepers. Yeah, it tightens up your defence but if the opposition are really good, they’re going to have extra players back in their defence and you’re inviting more ball on top of the forward line and if you have a forward line of Gearoid Hegarty, Tom Morrissey, Peter Casey… the more ball they get the better.”
“I just felt tactically, they’re being badly beaten because when the ball goes down to the forwards it’s coming back just twice as fast. When we were there, in the traditional game, when we hit the ball down to our forwards we always knew how long it took for the ball to come back out. If our forwards were chasing and like savages up there… well then we knew we were onto a winner and we had a great chance.”
Walsh also admitted that he’s never been a big fan of the system as it can be bypassed too easily in his eyes.
“I was never a big believer in it and I think the more analysis teams are doing on the sweeper system, the more they're able to bypass it.”
“You get away with it in your first year or two because what it does is inspire confidence and there’s very few beatings that you will get but you have to move on. What happens then is, the Limerick guys are doing things in training to bypass sweeper systems so if they see Tadhg de Búrca or these guys in the way, they’ll just hit it short to a guy on the run.”