Hard to know what to make of Ballygunner’s laboured win over Cratloe in the Munster semi-final yesterday in Walsh Park. It’s one of the truisms of the GAA that clubs that win the county title for the first time in years / ever are vulnerable when they head into the provincial championships, what with having to wade their way through oceans of celebratory beer and chunder from the previous week. This would certainly cast Ballygunner’s floundering in a bad light, unless you wonder whether it’s a truism that is supported by evidence. De La Salle were in the same boat last year and went down and bearded Sarsfields in their own den, so it’s certainly not an iron rule.
For all of that, you’d really hope Ballygunner’s experience at this level and home advantage would have stood for more. Five points clear with two minutes of normal time left, closing it out shouldn’t have been as fraught as it was. It was unconvincing and you fear that yet again we have a Waterford team who don’t really believe they can go all the way, an attitude that Newtownshandrum will drive a coach-and-four through. At least Ballygunner will get the chance to prove me wrong.