Typical. No sooner than I express an interest in an up-and-coming side than they turn into a down-and-going side. So it is with some trepidation that I approach the prospect of De La Salle becoming the first Waterford team to win the All-Ireland club championship. The consensus is that De La Salle are going to be walloped, and you would be worried that they are overdosing on the awesome while the defending champions have the been-there-done-that mentality so beloved of the likes of Kilkenny.
The assumption that Portumna are invincible is based on their drubbing of Ballyhale. Ballyhale were supposedly similarly unstoppable, ipso facto Kilkenny > Waterford => Ballyhale > De La Salle => Portumna >> De La Salle. QED.
The thing is, this overwhelming superiority of Portumna is based on nothing other than that one game. They didn’t even have opposition in Connacht this year. De La Salle have come through three hard tussles this year and shown admirable nerve in each one. Surely that counts for something?
Okay, that wasn’t too convincing. Think of today’s match this way. If this match were played 100 times, Portumna would win it eighty times. De La Salle have to be convinced that today is one of the twenty. Now let’s do it to them before they do it to us!
Unfortunately that was all too convincing. The parallels with the All-Ireland final are chilling, and the usual suspects will be all over it like a rash (note to self: avoid Up the Déise like the plague). This post was predicated on the assumption that it was impossible to tell too much from one game. The pundits will doubtless stroke their beards and say that it might be an idea to watch the match first, and they’d be right. Well done to Portumna, and commiserations to De La Salle. It’s been a brilliant year, and ye done yourselves and Waterford proud.