Remember when Division 1B teams were at “a huge disadvantage” (John Allen, in case you are afraid of being Rickrolled) compared to those playing in Division 1A? A clean sweep of 1A wins in the 2014 quarter-finals followed by Waterford’s sole win over Galway in 2015, a result so awful for the Tribesman that it effectively left Anthony Cunningham needing to win the All-Ireland to survive it, confirmed the trend.
A trend we can now confirm to be nonsense. I’m no statistician, but I know enough to see a sample of eight doesn’t tell us much. A year on and the record is now 9-3, with Clare and Limerick toppling their respective opponents from Division 1A, the latter doing it away from home. Oh, and Waterford went perilously close to crashing out at the hands of a team who needed a couple of injury time scores to squeak past Laois and whose manager is the subject of the usual whispering campaign. I have no doubt that everyone took inspiration from our Triple Crown of wins last season.
‘If Waterford can do it, so can we’ is not a compliment. The Wexford People had an article during the week laden with all manner of sneaking-suspicion stuff that they were about to pull the rug from under us. I have a sneaking suspicion of my own that they would not have dared publish such an article had it been any of the other top-order teams they had been playing. And we should be concerned that they were almost right. What is a compliment to the team and the management is that the overwhelming feeling from yesterday’s result was relief rather than delight. Winning a League quarter-final is no longer like winning the All-Ireland (© every snide hurler-on-the-ditch) but a matter of routine. Let’s hope that two iffy performances in a row by the A-Team is not a matter of routine as well.