Liam Cahill believes that Waterford's punishing schedule probably played a part in their All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Limerick but he accepted that was the consequence of being beaten in a provincial quarter-final.
The Déise were playing for a fourth weekend in succession today after coming through the qualifiers, and were unable to match the intensity of the Munster champions, who had had three weeks off.
"Four weeks in a row is tough going," Cahill told RTÉ Sport.
"Having said that, we just have to soak it up. We knew the fixtures at the start of the year to be fair. Once we exited the Munster championship to a Clare side who were deserved winners on the day, we knew the route we had to go. Cork will have more or less the same path to reach an All-Ireland.
"Times that were in it with Covid, we were lucky to have a championship. It might have been structured a little bit better from semi-final to final but that was the window of opportunity there and the GAA did the best they could. What could we do - that's what was laid out for us."
Cahill admitted that Limerick were worthy winners and said that the concession of a 54th-minute goal to Aaron Gillane - after Waterford had reduced the gap to six points - was a killer blow.
"Overall, just a powerful display from Limerick," he said. "Really physically commanding again. Real good awareness of what they bring as a team, where every player needs to be. Executed their usual game plan of holding possession and being able to find the right man at the right time.
"Our boys battled hard. After the first water break we seemed to empty a little bit and give Limerick a foothold at that stage. They kept the scoreboard ticking over Limerick and were five, six up before we knew it and you're chasing the match at that stage.
"It (the goal) definitely took the life out of us. The match was back to six points. A bit of momentum going, a bit of pep in our step, especially up front where our forwards were saying 'maybe there's a half a chance here'.
"Then the back of the net rattles down your end and it’s definitely a blow to everybody just right on the whistle of the water break. But look, that’s what good teams do to you. Limerick are all of that, a really good team."
Waterford did have some green-flag opportunities of their own but were harassed into taking on shots from tight angles and found Nickie Quaid a stubborn guardian of the net.
"We were going to need a lucky break of a goal chance to rightly put the cat amongst the pigeons. When you meet a team of Limerick’s calibre, you have to be taking everything on offer. We had five or six wides early on and everything needs to go over.
"I haven’t seen the stats but I think Waterford created at least three or four goal chances in the second half alone. We just didn’t take on the ball where it needed to be to test a goalkeeper of the calibre of Nickie Quaid.
"That’s hurling; that’s life. You take your chances and if you don’t you pay the price."