At the back end of 2008, this writer was in Australia for the Compromise Rules. There was a series of cafes in Perth, along a street, and the smell of cooking made the body desire some food. The ‘Sporting Limerick’ jersey was on me upon walking in, and the Asian counterman said to me in a broken English accent, ‘Do you know what the greatest sporting occasion in the world is?’ Assuming he was referring to something from that side of the world I replied ‘The Melbourne Cup’, ‘The Bledisloe Cup’. ‘No, No’ he replied, ‘the greatest sporting occasion in the world is the Munster hurling final’. It turns out that he had been to Ireland a year earlier, and visited Semple Stadium for the Waterford vs Limerick decider, sealed by the late Dan Shanahan goals. A small world eh. Truthfully, it brought a tear to my eye.
Cute story there from Henry Martin over on AFR, and while one should not be too hasty to read too much into such an isolated encounter it does show what the footballers of all stripes in Waterford are up against. The Déise of the soccer variety are coming apart, once again falling to the might of Monaghan United. Last year the Blues could plausibly claim that their paper-thin squad was struggling to keep things going in three competitions. So what will be the excuse this year, especially when you consider that Monaghan, hardly giants of the game, are trying the same trick this year and are able to beat Waterford with seeming impunity? It looks bleak for the Blues at the moment and being out of the cups means there ain’t much light at the end of the tunnel.
Then there’s the other footballers. They’ve already had a great year but those achievements shouldn’t, in the manner of Noel Gallagher, stop them demanding more. Limerick’s remarkable brush with triumph against Kerry last week should give Waterford confidence that a newly promoted team from Division Four should have what it takes to beat the likes of Offaly. The Biffs do have home advantage, one they used to great effect in beating Clare in the previous round. One fears that those wily old stagers will have too much for a Waterford team who might already be getting in their our-hands-were-tied excuses.