Waterford GAA results archive – insert ‘League’ pun here

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Hot on the heels of the club results comes an updated list of National Hurling League results. It only (!) dates back to the 1938/9 season, but after a lot of angst about the accuracy of the information I’m sufficiently confident about its veracity to unleash it on the wider public. One of the reasons for this has been from reading David Smith’s biography of John Keane, The Unconquerable Keane – review in the pipeline. Quite apart from containing a list of all the matches the great man ever played in, in so far as any such list can ever hope to be comprehensive, his work has made me realise why the NHL is the GAA’s red-headed stepchild. Back in Keane’s time tournaments matches were much more important than they are today, offering participating teams the opportunity to win a set of hurleys, precious commodity that they were or, even better, you might get ‘a length of suit’ for participating. That’s a gent’s suit, in case you’re wondering what that means, and my father hooted with delight at being reminded of such a long-gone social phenomenon. The NHL must have seemed a nuisance by comparison, and the GAA has never found a way to shake off that stigma.

Illustrative of the lack of joined-up thinking regarding the competition can be seen in the 1946/7 season. Waterford only played three matches in ‘Group A’ spread between November 1946 and March 1947. They finished level with Kilkenny at the top of the group so there had to be a playoff. This didn’t happen until October, after the 1947 All-Ireland final and just three weeks before the start of the 1947/8 season! It makes the current rumblings about the structure of the League look rather tame.

Still, from the point of view of the hobbyist the NHL does have the virtue of happening around the same time each year while the Emperor’s New Clothes events were mostly ad hoc. Until someone pays me to do this, that’ll have to suffice.