Quote of the month, if not the year, went to my dad on the train back from Dublin yesterday. Ten to eight, and already I was checking how Stan and the boys were doing against Germany at Croke Park. “Why are you bothering,” says he, “don’t you know it’ll be 0-0? Don’t you know it’ll be 0-0 in an hours time?” A comment born of his less-than-glowing attitude to soccer, but it was eerie in its presience. And what better way to ram home the point than to agree to accompany me to the replay between Mount Sion and Ballygunner, where it was most unlikely that the score was going to be 0-0 to 0-0.
As it was, what transpired was only marginally more entertaining, as an astonishing three-goal salvo in the first ten minutes sunk the defending champions before they had even had a chance to raise the periscope to survey the danger. Each goal was more morale-sapping than the last, the first allowing the Ballygunner forward (no team sheet could be found) to waltz through the defence and score with a shot that Ian O’Regan in the Mount Sion goal really should have seen coming; the second seeing the Mount Sion defence going AWOL, the Gunners nearly screwing up as they had acres of time and space to walk the ball into the net; and the third from a free, a well-struck one but surely one Monastery man could have put a stick to it as there were enough on the line to form a scrum. When another speculative effort on goal from a free arrowed home – Ballygunner’s forward clearly spending his days well with The Master – the match was done and dusted.
Having not been at a senior club match in all of eight years – the 1999 county final, when the Mount Sion juggernaut flattened Ballyduff Upper – this was a case of dipping my toes in the water. I can certainly see myself doing it again. The bone-juddering intensity of hurling is still there at the lower levels, even in a match as anti-climactic as this one was. So I’ll be back, in the sense of being back to Walsh Park, where it’s a case of short journey in, easy parking, no hassle getting a ticket or a seat (can’t have been more than a thousand at it) and a quick getaway at the end. Heading down to Dungarvan or even further afield for the Munster club championship, should we be in it? I don’t think so.
Speaking of Dungarvan, it is there that Ballygunner travel to play Lismore next weekend in the semi-final. As per previous comments. Lismore shall have my full support (in spirit). And should they fail, Ballyduff Upper shall have my full support, they having secured the honour of being my backup to slay the other head on the Waterford hurling Hydra that is Ballygunner by defeating Abbeyside in a nailbiter on Saturday night. Fingers crossed.