An early exit may have been disappointing for Waterford but the county has a panel which is full of players who have won Minor and Under 21 All Ireland Finals. It is also has a group which have the experience of playing in Munster and All Ireland Senior hurling finals.
For the new manager there are positives from 2018 and things to work on for 2019.
Waterford’s 2018 Munster Championship Team Stats
Transitioning defence to attack
Waterford’s transitioning from defence to attack was a huge problem for them in the Munster Championship. We looked at Waterford’s passes / clearances in past the oppositions 65 yard line over the course of their four games.
- 98 clearances / passes were made by Waterford in past the opposition’s 65 yard line over the course of the Munster Championship.
- 37 of these clearances / passes resulted in possession being retained by the a Waterford player.
- 61 of these clearances / passes resulted in the opposition winning back possession.
- A retention rate of 37.75% from these types of clearances.
The quality of the clearances are not the only reason for this low retention rate. The focus of the attack over 2018 was deliveries to Tom Devine which was successful at times but became predictable over the course of games.
Waterford’s set up with their forwards dropping deep down the pitch meant these long clearances on Devine could be nullified by the opposition defence as they had extra numbers in the defence.
The graphic below shows Cork players surrounding Tom Devine as delivery comes in from out the field.
Limerick and Galway have shown that a forward lines set up can create space for players to expose teams with their pace. Waterford have the forwards which are powerful and are full of pace.
The new management must find a set up where the forwards can use the space to run in to clearances. In 2018 the Deise forwards were being caught under clearances which suited defenders.
A commitment to work the ball through the lines of the field when in possession could improve Waterford’s forward play and possession retention.
V Clare : Waterford hit 20 clearances in past the Banners 65 yard line.
7 were retained and 13 of these clearances were win back by the opposition.
V Tipperary : Waterford hit 35 clearances in past the Premier counties 65 yard line.
16 were retained and 19 of theses clearances were won back by the opposition.
V Limerick: Waterford hit 21 clearances in past the Limerick 65 yard line.
8 were retained and 13 of these clearances were won back by the opposition.
V Cork: Waterford hit 22 clearances in past the Rebels 65 yard line.
6 were retained and 16 of these clearances were won back by the opposition.
Waterford Setting up on Opposition Puck Outs
Waterford’s set up and tactics on opposition’s puck outs resulted in them winning back possession on 28 out of the 103 restarts.
This was 27.18 % win back rate.
V Clare : Waterford won back only 2 out of the 24 puck outs hit by Donal Tuohy.
Waterford allowed Clare hit 18 short puck outs to free Clare players. This resulted in Clare being able to work the ball up the field and convert scoring chances.
Waterford’s set up was more positive and from 29 Tipperary puck outs, the Deise won back possession on 14 of them. Waterford were very comfortable defending puck outs which were being hit on top of the Tipperary half forward line.
Waterford struggled with the movement of the Limerick forward line and midfield on the puck outs. From 24 restarts by Nick Quaid, Waterford only won possession back on 5 of these puck outs.
Like the Clare game , Waterford gave up possession and let Cork go short to free defenders.
This resulted in Cork winning 19 out of their 26 puck outs which gave the Rebels a platform to set up attacks and work the ball through the lines of the field.
Positives for Waterford
Waterford used 28 players in the Munster Championship but one of the main positives was the game time received by forwards who previously had limited experience at inter county level.
Tomas Ryan emerged as Waterford’s top scorer from play over the Munster Championship. This was all the more impressive as he was limited to one start against Cork and three substitute appearances.
Devine and Foran are players in which a forward line can be built around. They have aerial , movement and scoring ability which were traits in Galway and Limerick’s All Ireland winning forward lines.
Waterford Puck Out
A positive statistic for Waterford was the retention of possession on their puck out. Stephen O Keefe and Ian O Regan hit 149 puck outs over the course of the Munster Championship.
81 of these puck outs were retained by Waterford.
On 68 occasions, possession was won by the opposition off the puck outs.
This was a 54.36% retention rate.
There is a warning that some of these puck outs won were restarts which were hit to a free corner back and then the return pass was back to the Waterford goalkeeper.
The positive for Waterford is that they have goalkeepers and defenders comfortable with taking short puck outs. For 2019 the next step on these type of puck out is to have movement and space created so these defenders have a clear picture of where to hit a pass when in possession.
On many occasions over the course of the Munster championship the clearances after the short puck out was direct and on to static forwards. As we can see in the previous statistics on clearances in past the oppositions 65 yard , this tactic was not working.
Individual Player Passing Stats
Waterford with some changes to their set up and use of possession can challenge in 2019.