De La Salle are Munster champions again, thus maintaining their 100% record in the competition. And they beat the champions of Cork and Tipperary this time round. In truth, it was a slightly fortunate win. Having strode into a 0-7 to 0-2 lead at half-time, things looked very good. But there was a stiff breeze in the peculiar micro-climate of Páirc Uí Caucescu and the second half was the proverbial second half of the game of two halves. The poor-wides-when-you’re-on-top count was even so the only thing between the teams was, well, the points on the board which Thurles Sarsfields were chipping away at with an air of remorselessness.
Then came the moment where they were knocked out of their stride. There was only a point in it when Brian Phelan clobbered a Sarsfields player in the middle of the field who was about to let the ball into the danger area but the ref inexplicably thought it was okay and De La Salle were able to temporarily lift the siege. David Greene failed to make good use of the ball thus won but a good minute was wasted at a crucial period of the game as Sarsfields fumed at the injustice of it all, and Eoin Madigan soon put DLS two points clear. Thank God for bad refereeing decisions – when they go your way.
It wasn’t all down to that. The Hurler of the Year was on the field but Lar Corbett (0-1) was eclipsed by one of the hurlers of the decade as John Mullane weighed in with 0-5. And when their backs were against the wall late in the game the DLS full-back line were magnificent, not something you have the opportunity to say very often about Waterford teams. So well done to De La Salle who now face Clarinbridge, just a much a team of county champion newbies as De La Salle – perhaps even more so, having not had the benefit of a provincial championship. Let’s stop now, before I say something to regret . . .