And then there were four 2012

Ove the last few years I’ve posted about who I would like to see win the Waterford county hurling championship. From the quarter-finals onwards I’d list from 1-8 who I think it would be most beneficial to win the title , in terms of personal satisfaction (a trivial matter; Tramore are so far away from winning it that it’s easy to be dispassionate), future prospects for the winners in the Munster/All-Ireland series, and the joy it would bring to the masses. Please note that if you want to read something about the competition itself, you’re in the wrong place. Thomas Keane and Tomás McCarthy both cater for that market, the latter also covering the football championship. The criteria can be listed as follows:

  • how long have you waited? The longer the better. A string of close misses in the recent past helps
  • have you undergone a rapid rise from the Intermediate / Junior ranks?
  • a slight bias towards counties from way out West to counteract the perception that the city is too dominant
  • Mount Sion will always be last. If that ever changes, we’ll know Waterford hurling has undergone radical change

This year I was too lazy busy to do it from the quarter-final stage, so we find ourselves at the semi-finals shorn of the defending champions as Ballygunner went down to Mount Sion.

29/9/12 at Walsh Park (5pm)
Mount Sion v De La Salle
30/9/12 at Fraher Field (6pm)
Dungarvan v Fourmilewater

The Gunners-Sion game might have presented a bit of a dilemma had I managed to get my act together before the quarter-finals. I’ve been pondering of late whether I’m being too hard on the Monastery men. It’s a source of some pride for our county that we have such a robust presence in one of the truly urban areas of Ireland and the recent travails of Mount Sion would make you wonder whether they could be heading the same way as Erin’s Own before them. Would I have wanted Mount Sion to topple Ballygunner, the club who have so flattered to deceive when they ventured outside the county as our representatives? Not putting together a crib sheet before the weekend has spared me the choice. Mount Sion were only playing with our minds. They’re still evil. Factor in the ease with which De La Salle seem to adapt to the burden of being county champions (two county titles, two Munster titles, two losses to the eventual All-Ireland champions) and more personal angst, and the all-city clash is a no-brainer. DLS all the way.

The other fixture is much more intriguing. A quick Google reveals that Dungarvan have not won the county hurling title since 1941 and Fourmilewater have never even reached the final. There’s obviously a clear difference between the size of the respective clubs, with the Dungarvan the winningest (to use that awful, but awfully useful, American phrase) team in the county football championship, so you’d think that ickle Fourmilewater should get the support of all right-thinking neutrals. But wait, who is that further down the football roll of honour? The Nire have won the football championship six times since Dungarvan’s last win and as any fule kno The Nire and Fourmilewater are the effectively the same club. Not quite the David and Goliath clash it seems.

And yet it is. I have a fondness for the Nire valley since happy days spent there with the Cub Scouts back in days of yore. We were all only too eager to jump on the Ballymacarbry bandwagon when the ladies footballers were sweeping all before them in the 1990’s, and it would be great for them to get something back. Factor in the marvel that is a club with as small a catchment area as the Nire valley fielding two competitive senior teams, and how could you object to Michael Ryan’s lot landing the big one? You couldn’t. Come on Fourmilewater.

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