Since starting this blog in July 2007 I’ve felt the need to say in advance of the final who I’d like to see win the All-Ireland. Let’s look at each instance of this phenomenon:
- 2007: Kilkenny. “What it boils down to is the epic nature of Waterford’s season and the dreadfully anticlimactic manner in which it came to a halt. Had we lost to Cork in the quarter-final, then I would have cheerfully passed the responsibility for sticking it to The Man to Limerick. As it was, having finally overcome Cork, it had to be Waterford or bust. And sadly, it was bust.”
- 2008: Oh please.
- 2009: Tipperary. “The time has come to admit to wanting Tipp to win on Sunday, and this is why: the need to puncture Kilkenny’s veneer of invincibility.”
- 2010: Kilkenny. “‘What’s your Munster Championship worth now?!‘ . . . I hope Kilkenny knock seven bells out of Tipperary. The quote above was bellowed out by an anonymous Tipp fan on the Hill as this year’s All-Ireland semi-final wound down. The correct response, one impossible to express at the time due to a desire to draw a veil over proceedings rather than engage with the opposition, and a lack of pithiness, was ‘it’ll be worth a lot more than an All-Ireland runner-up medal’.”
The common theme in all these selections was that the team who I felt robbed us of ‘our’ All-Ireland would be the team I wouldn’t be cheering for. It would have been horrible to see Limerick win the All-Ireland in 2007 after being by far the better team throughout the season. In 2009, Kilkenny needed to be stopped somehow if we were to ever prosper. And in 2010, it was galling to see Tipperary come through the backdoor at our expense.
So 2011? I’m not bothered at all. If only one thing can be said with certainty about Waterford’s year, it’s that we were never even close to winning the McCarthy Cup. If, in the mode of Star Trek, there are infinite universes where all possibilities are played out, there isn’t a single one where Stephen Molumphy ascended the Hogan Stand, except on the Croke Park stadium tour. There are minor wobbles. Contemplating the possibility of sitting beside a gloating Tipp woman in work on Monday? Come on Kilkenny. Noel Hickey’s breathtakingly cynical trip on Patrick Maher right at the end of the first half – whatever will Pat Spillane have to say about that? Come on Tipp. Ultimately though, I’m not bothered at all. Come on Waterford. Sin é.