The idea that 2013 would be a year where Waterford sports fans would come to wish the Mayans had been right has been rattling around in my head for a while now – have headline, article to follow. It was a decent 2012 at Senior level for the hurlers, with an entertainingly miraculous escape in the League and a respectable run in the Championship, and De La Salle showed we are still competitive at club level. It was calamitous everywhere else though, with near-record beatings at Minor and Under-21 level. Then winter compounded the misery as the Intermediate and Junior champions went down at the first hurdle in Munster for what feels like the umpteenth time. Looking forward to 2013, the League looks like being a complete bust. We managed to beat Dublin and Galway last season to survive, the former being replaced by a resurgent Clare and the latter transformed into the team most likely to overturn the Evil Empire. With the retirement of Eoins Kelly and McGrath, and uncertainty over the future of John Mullane and Tony Browne (the reason I never said anything about the retirements of the two Eoins at the time was because I was expecting to be folding it into a eulogy for Tony’s monumental career), you begin to wish the calendar really did run out in 2012.
Add in the financial apocalypse which looms over the county like an impending apocalypse and you have a neat segue with Waterford United’s woes. The threat by John O’Sullivan to jack in his involvement in the club has proven to be an empty one. He probably underestimated the extent to which those running the League of Ireland couldn’t care less about what happens outside the Pale and the Blues now find themselves, after a year spent in a division which everyone agreed was unsustainable with only eight teams, preparing for a year in a division which might have only seven teams! There’s an assumption that Cobh Ramblers will step into the breach, which would obviously suit Waterford as another derby-like game, but the fact that there being no fixture list for the First Division with less than two months to go before the season kicks off is taken with such sang-froid rather than causing utter hysterics in the domestic game shows how resigned the denizens of the First Division are to their circumstances.
Or maybe people realise that sport isn’t that big a deal. For it is appropriate given the respective pickles that the Déise and the Blues find themselves in that they should be coming together on Saturday 2nd February to support the Save Ryan and Ethan Appeal. You can read all about their plight on the website and follow the day-to-day fundraising efforts on Facebook, but suffice to say that whatever happens to my teams in 2013 we will be able to invoke the spirit of Boris Becker:
Let’s hope by 2014 we’ll be able to say the same for Ryan and Ethan.