WATERFORD boss Derek McGrath believes several teams are capable of winning the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship this year following Clare’s mauling of Kilkenny in the National League semi-final on Sunday.
The Banner County beat the Cats 4-22 to 2-19 in a shock win at Croke Park, setting up a Division One final date with Waterford, who they will then meet in the Munster Championship on June 5.
McGrath’s Waterford side were too strong for Limerick with a 3-23 to 1-18 win in the other semi-final, but the Déise boss refuses to accept that his side are Kilkenny’s biggest challenger for All-Ireland honours this summer.
“To us, the league is actually everything. We’re not even contemplating it,” he told The Irish Post.
“Obviously, everyone’s goal and aspiration is to win an All-Ireland, but within the camp we’re just going from week-to-week. That’s how we get better, and if we don’t improve then we’re not going to compete for an All-Ireland.
“It might be the media’s perception that we’re the main challenger to Kilkenny, but we would feel that there’s other teams that are equally entitled to consider themselves challengers.”
Asked if he thought Waterford retaining their NHL Division 1 title would be a big statement to those in contention, he admitted that would be the case, though they’re fully focussed on their immediate task.
“It would,” he said. “But we would feel that our best chance is to have confidence garnered from good solid league performances. We’re not the type of team who can turn it on just in time for the championship.”