“A famous win!”, crowed Kieran O’Connor at the end of today’s win over Galway. He was likely referring to it being our very first win in Pearse Stadium, and strictly speaking he’s right.
It’s a bit of a stretch though to say this is a really noteworthy event in Waterford’s hurling history. We’ve played a grand total of six games in the Salthill venue – I’m saying six because that game in 1972 in ‘Galway’ is most likely to be Pearse Stadium but I haven’t the resources to double-check it at the moment. It’s hardly a statistically significant sample size. You might as well view Ballinasloe as the new bogey venue while yearning for a return to Gort where we have a 100% record.
I’m being churlish. What motivated Kieran’s outburst was pure relief after the hidings we’ve taken in recent games. Quite apart from being the first win for Michael Ryan, the thought that Ken McGrath coming into the fold has led to instant success would bring instant moisture to several parts of the body. It’s very early days on that score, but yet another quirk of the League format means that the path to survival has suddenly become much simpler. Throughout the game I was labouring under the impression that we would need to run up a cricket score to overturn Galway’s points difference advantage on us to get ahead of them. But it now seems that if two teams finish level on points, it’s the head-to-head record that counts. So if we beat Dublin and Kilkenny beat Galway, we’re safe. It looks like the weekend has told us that the world has only room enough for one miracle-performing Kenneth at a time, more’s the pity.
Update: Stephen Long has a summary of the permutations for the last round of Division 1A.