Tomorrow’s match against Dublin sees the return to the starting lineup of Dave Bennett. The theme of the League this year – as, and this is something I have realised while blogging about it, is the theme every year – is whether you can add a few new Championship quality hurlers to the mix. Bennett was once that player, having made his Waterford debut against Laois back in 1998 and scoring 2-1 for his troubles. He’s been in and out of the team (mostly out) ever since. In that context, bringing Bennett back smacks a wee bit of desperation. What are the management likely to find out about him that they didn’t know already?
For all of that, I’m glad to see him back. I’ve always viewed his yo-yo relationship with the starting lineup with incredulity. He seemed to suffer from Peter Crouch Syndrome, a condition where a player performs well in his own given roll but is the first to be hauled ashore when the manager thinks its time to shake things up and the first to be sent to the bench after a bad overall result while more illustrious players are continually forgiven for less-than-stellar performances. Bennett can usually be relied upon for a couple of points from play, which is all you can ask from a forward, and he is another option in the free-taking department. In fact, with Eoin Kelly having had another mediocre day with the place ball against Kilkenny, that might be the New Face that we need for the summer – a reliable free taker would surely be worth several points in just about every game. Here’s hoping.