Underage success on the back of All-Ireland minor and U-21 glory with Tipperary set Liam Cahill up for a tilt at managing the blue and gold senior side.

And while he played down talk that he wanted the job, there was no denying he was a serious contender before Liam Sheedy came back for a second spell in charge in the autumn of 2018. 

The U-21 grade in hurling became Under-20 and Cahill stayed on to oversee Tipp take a first All-Ireland crown in the latter grade. 

A senior job would come his way, with Waterford keen on his services. He accepted the challenge of lifting a county who had hit a trough since reaching the 2017 All-Ireland final.

Before Covid-19 stopped the Allianz League in its tracks, the Déise had reached the knockout stage.

We still don't know whether the league will be played to finish following on from the publication of the GAA's 'Safe Return to Gaelic Games' document, but Cahill will have chance to run the rule over club action when that resumes on 31 July, before inter-county training commences in mid-September.

The Ballingary native has been impressed with the attitude of the Waterford players so far in 2020.

Speaking to Damien Lawlor on RTÉ Radio's Sunday Sport, he said: "They have been absolutely marvellous to me if I'm honest. I'm after getting unbelievable honesty and respect from them from day one, but they always had that to be fair. It's just that results did not got their way over the last season or two and confidence levels might have been hit as a result.

"I can assure you that the guys retain all the desire behind the scenes to put their best forward and to prepare as well as everybody else to try and achieve silverware."

Waterford's Conor Prunty in action against Tipperary in the Allianz League last March

As for Cahill's management style, he places great emphasis on communication. "There is no point in a player going out on the field thinking he's great and the management having doubts," he added.

"From my playing days the game has changed, there is a lot more for management to get across.

"When I was playing, you had to win your own ball and you hurled in your position. Now you have to be able to hurl in a number of positions to have any chance of survival. 

"The way the modern game has gone now it's all about having massive energy levels. You look at the incredible numbers fellas are travelling now in the inter-county games - the lung capacity to get around the field. Obviously, skill and your touch is also important.

"With so much more to management now and every player desperate to make the starting XV, you have to create an environment where everybody is viewed as equal even though they may not be starting."

In putting all the pieces together, the Waterford boss prefers to have a management set-up that he says is "prudent" in its make up.

He explained: "It's about making sure you have the right people with you. I'm not big into having massive backroom teams - two or three fellas doing the one job. That's not what I'm about. We are very prudent in Waterford in what we do and that's the way it will remain.

"When you get people around you the trust levels have to be right. They have to be good in the areas they are asked to take responsibility for. If the players see that, then things will work well." 

Mikey Bevans

Cahill also paid tribute to Mikey Beavans - a key member of the management set-up - who also was central to Tipperary's recent underage wins.

"Mikey's real strength is his charisma and the way he's able to relate to players and get his message across. I was very fortunate to team up with Mikey a couple of years ago when we were both involved in training club teams. We organised a challenge match between the team we were training. 

"I was in line for the Tipp minor job the year after and I said to Mikey about coming on board. Thankfully, he accepted and the rest is history. Mikey bring a lot of playing attributes onto the coaching field; he was very much an energetic player in his playing days and very much a guy to do a lot of unselfish work and running for the team.

"He may have been classed as small in stature in the position he played and was instrumental in all the success those great Toomevara teams had. I really fortunate to have a man of that calibre with me at the moment."