Waterford’s Selector James Murray was much happier with Sunday’s second-half display. Photo Sean Byrne.
NHL Division 1B Reaction: James Murray
The Waterford management took a long stroll over to the dressing rooms at half time. There was much to discuss. A double substitution was a sign of their concern.
“We weren’t happy,” admitted selector James Murray who took on the media duties as Paraic Fanning rushed off to catch a flight. “We just didn’t feel we got to the pitch of the game. We didn’t get around enough tackles. The two changes freshened things up a little bit and there was a wind as well, not a huge advantage for anybody. We’re disappointed to lose obviously, we’re not going to beat ourselves up over it. We learned a lot today. This is a difficult place to come and take points away from and we very nearly did. We could have had another two goals, the penalty at the end and Stephen’s effort that was just taken off the line.”
After three wins by an aggregate margin of 57 points, Waterford didn’t get up to speed until the second half. “We probably struggled a bit. In all fairness to the opposition we had played, it wasn’t up to that level. We knew that the standard would be stepped up today. It probably took us that 35 minutes. I thought the lads showed a huge amount of heart and a huge amount of guts to keep going in the second half. It was super last fifteen minutes and I think everyone that was here will be delighted with the entry fee!”
The Waterford bench voiced their displeasure with Fergal Horgan during the closing stages. “At the time, you’re not going to be happy about it. We’ll have a look at that. It’s very difficult on the day to go back over them and say whether they were frees or they weren’t. We’ll have a look at that ourselves.”
The inside line combined for 4-10 of Waterford’s 4-15. They have contributed nine goals between them in four matches (four for Thomas Ryan, three for Stephen Bennett and two for Shane Bennett). Murray wants to figure out the other pieces of the forward line. “We need to add a bit more than just the lads. If we’re going to move on, we’ll have to do that. There’s something for us to work on straight away. We’ll do that.”
The Ballygunner gang returned on Sunday with Philip and Pauric entering the fray in the second half and Stephen O’Keeffe and Peter Hogan on the bench. “They’re back with us full time, we’re delighted to have them back. Everybody has to fight for their place. It’s great to have them back. They add huge options for us. They’re real quality players and real quality people. We’ll be putting our best foot forward. It’s great to have everyone in the camp.”
The large Déise support in Dublin was a massive lift for Murray and the rest of team. “We want people to follow us, we want people to support us and we want people to be positive about us. We’re trying to do something that hasn’t been done for a long time. The more people that get behind us and help us out the better. The Waterford support was always fantastic. They’ll travel to any venue and today was no different.”