“It was only the Juniors!”

Bless Mrs d and the little quirks that distinguish our respective nations. Coming as she does from a world where a Minor is a person who can’t buy alcohol, it seems more natural to think of an underage team as a Junior team. But having engaged in a quick, grossly unfair, game of How Silly Can You Be, the question was a fair one, especially in the context of taking a couple of hours to knock out a match report: why get so het up over a team consisting of people who shave by rubbing a cloth over their face?

The initial answer to the question is easy – because I’m a saddo who deludes himself into thinking people give a damn about what I say. Then again, at the time of writing this day is looking like being the busiest day in the site’s history. And while that isn’t very busy – we’re talking in terms of hundreds of hits – it’s clear there’s quite a few other saddos out there who want to know went on in Walsh Park last night and aren’t going to find out about it from anywhere else. Then there’s the fact that 3,208 people were sufficiently interested to spend their evening watching a team of boys. That number bears further analysis. There were a few hundred people from Limerick, and presumably a fair few of them didn’t pay €10 because they were with the team or blagged their way in. But for a place with a population (city and county) of 107,961 it’s a hefty percentage of the population for a youth team game.

Having engaged in a little self-congratulatory stat-massaging, it still doesn’t answer the question of ‘why’. The simple truth is that there is an insatiable desire in every county in Ireland to just be competitive, and at the moment Waterford are competitive beyond the dreams of avarice – please note the distinction between ‘competitive’ and ‘successful’. You wonder how many people were at the 1974 fixture against Cork at the same venue when we lost by 26 points. This year, having already beaten Tipperary, people could be confident that we wouldn’t fall to that kind of level. Hence all those bandwagon jumpers last night.

Moving forward, a look at the records shows what we’re up against in the curtain raiser on 10 July. Remarkably our four wins in Munster Minor finals have all come against Tipperary, and have only won six of seventeen clashes with Clare. Still, we had only beaten Limerick six times before last night. Lucky number seven?

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