If this tweet (which I’ve linked to before) . . .
— SportsFactsWaterford (@sportfactsdeise) November 17, 2013
. . . is correct, and while I’m always dubious about tweets from an account with that odd Twitter egg avatar it certainly looks plausible, then Ballysaggart’s recent success means they have won more games in the Munster Junior club championship this year than all previous Waterford entrants put together. It’s already an amazing story for a club that, according to their Facebook page, is the smallest in the county and with the potential to get even better. We’ll all be rooting for you in your quest for All-Ireland glory and petty East/West divides be damned.
(The thought that Tramore ended up getting knocked out by the Munster champions is also a nice one.)
From a countywide perspective, Ballysaggart’s success inevitably leads one to speculate on just how good Stephen Bennett is. I had the pleasure of seeing him strut his stuff from a very young age against the Limerick Minors two year ago, and having been such a star during the All-Ireland run this year , it looks like he might be the real deal. The level of bitterness expressed by Limerick’s Munster Council rep over the Hawk Eye fiasco was born of an underlying truth – Limerick beat a Waterford team that are now being feted as a gold mine of talent, with Bennett the most lustrous nugget of the lot.
The eternal question now presents itself – ease him into the team or drop him in at the deep end. Carrying his match-dominating habits into the Junior club ranks against teams who doubtless had several hatchetmen just itching to show the storied young fella a thing or two about what it is to hurl amongst Men having only previously played against Boys, the temptation is to throw caution to the wind. History will judge Derek McGrath on whether he can integrate the likes of Bennett, Austin Gleeson and Patrick Curran into the Senior ranks. As challenges go, I can think of worse ones.