Derek McGrath has laid bare the extent that hurling invades inter-county managers’ personal lives.
The former Waterford boss shared the story of how he convinced Jamie Barron to stay on with the Waterford hurlers for the 2015 season instead of going to America for the summer, despite the call coming at the most inconvenient of times.
He answered the phone while with his father, who was in for a heart procedure at the Beacon Clinic, but jumped into the car to make the 500km round trip to talk to Barron in person.
Barron had missed out on the championship during an injury-hit 2014 season, but McGrath wanted to explain the new role he envisaged for him.
“My father went into the Beacon for a shutdown on the heart, where they put a bit of mesh outside of his heart, and Jamie Barron rang me in the Mardyke to tell me he was going to America, that he wasn’t committing for the next year,” he said at CBC’s ‘The Road to Success’ event.
“I walked around the field with Jamie Barron, said to him: ‘Jeez, we were going to play you in midfield this year.’
“It’s easy talk about it now, because it worked out well for Jamie, he got an All-Star and was nearly Hurler of the Year, but you feel like you’re Mother Teresa doing everything for them.”
In 2015, Barron played every minute as Waterford made the All-Ireland semi-final, embedding himself as a central figure for his county and becoming a two-time All-Star in the following years.
Don’t miss the Irish Examiner’s Weekend Sport for our big read on the insights from CBC’s ‘The Road to Success’ event with McGrath, John Kiely and John Meyler.