The Galway hurlers headed to Walsh Park on Sunday knowing they needed a win against the home side to guarantee themselves a chance of defending the league trophy.
That carrot should have provided plenty of incentive and motivation for a top-quality performance.
However, despite the return of some big name players, that objective was not achieved.
The Tribesmen found themselves trailing by one point at the finish. Although Joe Canning had a scorable free to level the game, the news that Dublin were ahead and likely to end the campaign with a total of 10 points, meant a draw was of no use to the Tribesmen.
As a result Canning, who had 1-06 on the board at that stage, including a signature goal, was sent back in around the square to try to raise another green flag.
Wing-back David Burke posted a dangerous centre, but the Waterford defence stood firm, won possession, and with it, won the game.
Galway can have no complaints as they were beaten by the hungrier and harder working side.
Waterford manager Davy Fitzgerald was upbeat after his side’s victory;
"We have not been beaten in Waterford since March 2009 and we didn’t want that record to go, so we put pressure on ourselves to win. We knew they would be all guns blazing but we stuck with them. The one thing I’ll say about the lads is they’ll be honest and work hard. I’m very excited about the lads who are coming through and the upcoming championship."
Galway can take little solace from the defeat.
It was an improvement on the Tipperary debacle, but it was another sobering lesson on what needs to be done before the Leinster championship. Whether the required improvement in application and performance can be made over the next two months remains to be seen.
There has been a lot of talk about injury and players coming back to full fitness, but Galway are not alone in that predicament and Kilkenny suffered a few new serious injuries last Sunday too.
When you consider that the Déise were without All-Star Noel Connors, honeymooning John Mullane, Eoin Kelly, Richie Foley, Declan Prendergast, and team captain Stephen Molumphy, they were a fair bit from their championship 15 too.
Galway team manager John McIntyre was far from pleased with another defeat and acknowledged his panel has a lot of serious work to do if Galway are to be contenders for any silverware during the coming months.
“We have a mountain of work to do ahead of the championship. Our last two outings highlight that. Our inability to win primary ball continues to kill us and if we don’t sort that out, our championship prospects will be completely undermined. This match will bring us on, but you’re out there to win. Obviously it was a good workout ahead of the championship. We have picked up training for the last fortnight, and we targeted a win here, so the defeat is a big disappointment.”
The Galway panel are back with their clubs this weekend for the first round of the Galway county championship and Galway do not play in the Leinster championship for another six weeks when the face either Carlow or Westmeath on Saturday June 4. The winners of that tie will face either Offaly or Dublin in the Leinster semi-final two weeks later.
Galway: J Grealish; D Joyce (Cpt ), S Kavanagh, D Collins; D Burke, T Óg Regan 0-1 (f ), A Cullinane; B Daly 0-2, J Coen 0-1; D Hayes 0-3, J Canning, 1-6 (0-4 frees );, K Hynes; E Forde, I Tannian 0-2, A Callanan. Subs: G O’Halloran for Kavanagh (44 ); C Donnellan for Hynes (46 ); N Healy O-1 for Forde (53 ); D Barry for Cullinane (63 ).