Derek McGrath believes Saturday night’s Allianz League win over Cork is a sign of the progression his young Waterford team are making.
The Deise dominated the Rebels at long periods at Pairc Ui Rinn and then held off a late comeback from their opponents, winning 0-20 1-14.
That makes it two wins from two in Division 1A for Waterford, leaving them top of the table.
Last year Waterford won the League from Division 1B last year – the first team to do so since the competition was restructured – and now they are proving that they can live with hurling’s elite.
“Given the traditional nature of Kilkenny and Cork, we’re delighted,” said McGrath, speaking to RTÉ Sport.
“I think it’s a long time since we came to Pairc Ui Rinn and got an away win over Cork so that’s a sign that we’re progressing in a small manner.”
Cork came into the game on the back of a heavy defeat to Galway whilst Waterford’s opening match brought a fine home win over Kilkenny.
McGrath was aware that this made it potentially tricky weekend for his team and he’s extremely pleased the way they reacted.
“It’s good, particularly because we felt the most difficult part of this game was preparing psychologically for the backlash from Cork,” he explained.
“Last year they were comprehensively beaten by Kilkenny and then the next week came out with a brilliant performance against Clare.
“That was the most difficult thing to overcome and it shows that lads are able to deal with different performances put in front of them.”
Saturday's clash was a fiery affair with Waterford's Maurice Shanahan and Cork's Alan Cadogan sent off.
However, McGrath has said that Waterford need to continue to learn their lessons – and he includes himself on that list.
“It was a hard-working performance and I thought we were well on top for three quarters of the game, though Cork obviously finished with a real flourish and were probably lucky to hang on in the end,” he said.
“The natural ebb and flow of the game allows for a period of domination for the opposition.
“First and foremost, Cork are a really good team so they’re going to have a period of dominance and looking back we probably didn’t empty the bench early enough and the weariness of lads playing college matches during the week told.
“I don’t think we’ll be giving ourselves too much kudos in the management with how we performed overall.”
Waterford now have a week off and are back in action again on Sunday ,March 6 away to Tipperary.