Waterford boss Davy Fitzgerald is a hero once again after his team’s big All-Ireland quarterfinal 2-23 to 2-13 win over Galway on Sunday, just two weeks after he received hate calls in the wake of the heavy Munster final loss to Tipperary.
Fitzgerald was emotional after his team’s demolition job on Galway put that Tipp memory to rest.
Fitzgerald said, “It has been a difficult two weeks. There were a lot of things said and I suppose we deserved some of them.
“We had two weeks to make up for it and get back. We worked very hard and we didn’t do ourselves justice in the Munster final.
“All of them mysterious calls in the middle of the night I enjoy them, keep them coming! I’m not going into it, they are not worth even talking to. They can keep ringing, that’s all I’ll say to you.
“There are people close to me who doubted me and gave me stick. I never doubt myself and the most important thing is that I never doubted the lads.
“I think today we went out and showed what we were really about. I’m just delighted for the boys. It is nothing to do with me. It is the boys that went out on the field that played with heart and courage. Hats off to them.
“There was no point hiding away as in Cork. You can do two things. You can go out and take a few pints and forget about it, or you can go home and live through the hurt. The boys chose that option. I think that is very important.”
Kilkenny are next for the Waterford men, and Fitzgerald is relishing the prospect of a semi-final crack at the Cats.
He added, “Galway are not a bad team. I think they were odds-on favorites today and the question is now is what are we going to do after this?
“Are we going to clap ourselves on the back or are we going to coming out again fighting again in the next game, playing one of the best teams that have been out there in hurling?
“I think it is very unfair, a lot of the stuff that has been said. In the last four years only two teams have beaten us. It is funny the two of them have won All-Irelands the whole time.
“It is not a bad old record. I’m proud of those boys and all I want them to do next day is go out and play. Throw off the shackles and go out and play and see what happens. I’m wicked proud of them.”
Waterford forward John Mullane revealed that his team went back to basics for the Galway match.
“This time two weeks ago we were frightened to even come outside the house, but today there’s a better feeling. There’s a better feeling all around the county and we’ve restored some pride,” he said.
“After the Tipperary defeat, we threw a few things out on the table and ironed out a few things and decided we were going to push forward in a positive way.
“We learned an awful lot and we went back to the old style Waterford way and just played off the cuff. Tactics went out the window and every fella just went out and won their own individual battle.
We won in probably nearly every area of the field.
“There was an awful lot of tension in the Munster final and a lot of players got caught up in the tactics and weren’t concentrating on hitting the ball.
“Hurling’s a simple game and we just went out and hurled the ball. We created 43 scoring chances and took 25 of them and that’s what we’re capable of if we are allowed to hurl.
“Anytime you concede seven goals in a Munster final and suffer a humiliation like that, you have to take the criticism. We turned that criticism into a positive and drove on.”
Waterford are underdogs against Kilkenny and that suits Mullane fine.
He said, “I saw the bookmakers odds have us as 7-1 outsiders so that suits us down to the ground. If we can play the free-flowing hurling we played yesterday, we’re in with a shout and have a chance.”