Category Archives: Media Reports

Waterford 0-17 (17) Wexford 1-13 (16) – media reports

Waterford made to work hard for semi-final spot by Wexford – RTÉ
Wexford allow Waterford off the hook – Irish Examiner
Wexford just pipped by league champions after valiant fight – Irish Times
Champs manage to ride out wild Wexford storm – Irish Independent
Maurice Shanahan hits 12 points to seal semi final berth for Déise –
Holders survive Wexford scare –

Waterford 0-24 (24) Galway 1-21 (24) – media reports

Off-colour Galway facing relegation showdown – RTÉ
Deise and Tribe share the spoils –
Waterford and Galway play out a thrilling draw – Irish Times
Draw against Waterford leaves Galway facing a relegation play-off against Cork – Irish Examiner
Galway in relegation play-off after Déise draw – GAA
‘Nuggets of hope’ for Deise as Galway draw comfort – Irish Independent

Waterford 0-14 Dublin 0-19

Dublin halt Déise’s unbeaten run – RTÉ
Resurgent Dublin see off Waterford to reach League quarters – Irish Times
Devastating Dubs stun Waterford to grab quarter-final place –
Dublin beat Waterford at own game – Irish Examiner
Dublin stun Waterford – Irish Independent

Eek. I left a major hostage to fortune in the previous post, something that didn’t dawn on me until I noticed a like/favourite on Twitter from Rachael English. Comments as intemperate as  ‘Keep it up, and the promised land isn’t just likely. It’s inevitable’ are just the kind of thing to go viral when you get the runaround at home from Dublin. I could probably put up a weasely defence that I was merely prognosticating on a scenario where we kept on winning and just because we are no longer winning doesn’t mean it was wrong to speculate on the keep-winning scenario.  But the bottom line is that when you are trounced in this manner, you have to take stock.

And having taken stock, it wasn’t entirely apocalyptic. For starters, Dublin looked very tasty indeed. I say ‘trounced’ because the five-point margin probably flattered Waterford. Dublin’s short passing game was all at sea in the first five minutes as they gifted Waterford a three-point head start. It was blissfully reassuring. They’d soon stop acting the jennet and we’d still be too good for them. Except neither of those things happened. They kept it up and Waterford never got to grips with it. When you are as fit and well-drilled as Dublin looked, it is surely a recipe for success when you add some real talent, and Dublin had the star of the show in Eamon Dillon. I can’t recall noticing him before and I was alarmed to see the Dublin GAA website has him winning League and Leinster titles. Was I really so dense as to miss someone so good? Don’t answer that. Some quick Googling brought some relief as he played in neither of those wins and only came on as a sub in their loss to us in last year’s Championship. Either way, he was unplayable in this game. One score saw him catch a high ball coming over his shoulder near the sideline and, without breaking stride, turn and send the ball over the bar. It was typical of much of Dublin’s play in the opening 20 minutes, and with Waterford benefitting from a modest wind, it was looking grim.

Tom Devine was finding the task of being the lone forward to be utterly thankless. The manner in which Derek McGrath persisted with this plan in the face of its failure does make you wonder whether he was conducting some manner of experiment. In less wishful-thinking mode, it was likely that Waterford had several players have a bad day at the office all on the same day. Yes, Dublin were neat and tidy, but none of the in-your-face play that was so much in evidence against Kilkenny was on display here. Tadhg de Búrca, surprisingly restored to the side after injury, looked rustier than that crane off the Ardmore coast. More surprising was the occasionally flailing efforts of Kevin Moran. Watching this man-mountain with the hands of Roger Federer being beaten to the ball by players you would expect him to sweep aside was jarring. All over the field Waterford players were chasing shadows and you really felt something had to change as Dublin eased into a three-point lead having been three points down.

Nothing did change in the tactics or personnel, but Waterford managed to pull themselves up by the boot straps. Almost all the good stuff we did came via Jamie Barron who was making himself a proper nuisance in the middle of the park, and a brace apiece from Ausitn Gleeson and Patrick Curran meant that Waterford somehow went in ahead at half-time. Nothing spectacular had happened, just a little bit more oomph in defence, although the rampaging clearances that have been so typical of Waterford in the last year and a bit were conspicuous by their absence. Could they push on in the second half?

No, they could not. A couple of points were exchanged in the first few minutes but once Dublin hit the front at 0-11 to 0-10 they didn’t look back. Points came in all shapes and sizes and it was clear the heart wasn’t there to close the gap. There was no flame-out, no madcap chase for goals that might have turned the tide. The closest we came was right at the end, an effort by Gleeson from out near the 45 zipping over the bar rather than causing the chaos he was hoping for under it.

It was that lack of fight that gives me a perverse sense of comfort. You often hear that League games were played at Championship intensity. This is invariably nonsense, not least in the match the night before in Páirc Uí Rinn. I had accidentally ended up watching that game and while it was very entertaining fare it was most definitely not up to Championship intensity, except for the late burst of goals when Kilkenny bulldozed their way through the Cork backs (five points down with five minutes left, Anthony Daly ventured, upon hearing that there have never been a draw in the League between the teams, that Brian Cody would have taken that. No way is Brian Cody ‘settling’ for anything, ever). It was still a lot more thunder-and-lightning than this game though. This might be a sign that the players are getting a little blasé. With the return of Darragh Fives and the integration of Shane Bennett and Patrick Curran, the squad is stronger than it was last year. There should be more willing to use it rather than sticking with the same 18 or so players for every game.

In the short term, we’re still heading in the right direction. Thoughts that we might be a flash in the pan from last year can be dismissed, and we can look forward to the quarter-finals where we might end up second and still get a home draw against Offaly after their surprise win over Wexford. We must, of course, treat them with the utmost respect and leave no hostages to fortune.

***looks at previous post***


Waterford 1-18 (21) Tipperary 1-17 (20) – media reports

Waterford strike late to maintain 100 per cent record – Irish Times
Austin Gleeson steps up to seal the deal for Waterford – Irish Examiner
Waterford show real resolve to wear down Tipperary in thrilling finish – Irish Independent
Na Deise sink Premier at the death in Thurles thriller –
Waterford edge out Tipperary to extend winning sequence – RTÉ
Waterford snatch a late winner in Thurles – WLR

Waterford 0-14 Kilkenny 0-10

(Fógra: I’m dispensing with the old-school match report. You can get far better ones from the various sources below. This, and future editions, will be impressions gleaned from memory of the match day experience and therefore just as useless as before.)

Déise defiance too much for sloppy Kilkenny – Irish Independent
Wasteful Waterford still ease by subdued Kilkenny – Irish Times
Waterford’s defiant roar puts Kilkenny to the sword – De Paper
Waterford show greater appetite in win over Cats – RTÉ
Wasteful Waterford trump Cats –

I’m not a local so I don’t mind if people view this as an epiphany that no ‘real’ Liverpool supporter would experience. With that in mind . . . this incident was the first time that I was able to imagine a life without Liverpool FC. Not the incident itself, which just made me roll my eyes at how juvenile it all was. It was in the match that followed against Barcelona, when Bellamy celebrated his equaliser by imitating a golf swing. I should have been overjoyed but instead I was enraged by this colossal prick thinking the whole thing was a joke. What the fuck was I doing, putting so much of my mental well-being in the hands of these revolting men-children who didn’t give a shit if I lived or died? The moment passed, but the memory remained. I don’t know where my limit for the shitness of modern football lies – but I know I have a limit.

The above comment, which I originally posted on The Liverpool Way website, got a gratifyingly positive reaction. With the Premier League money speakers about to be turned up to 11 it was refreshing to immerse oneself in the acoustic surroundings of the National Hurling League. And it seemed a lot of people agreed with me as a large crowd turned up to the League champions take on the winner of some knockout cup competition.

I’m being facetious of course, and not just about the standings relative to each other of the respective teams. Had some organisational re-jigging – not unheard of in the GAA – saved Waterford from relegation at the end of the 2014 League and we were playing Kilkenny in the first game of the 2015 campaign, there would not have been this kind of attendance. This time last year I was entertaining the possibility that we might be passed out on the way down by Laois on the way up. Now we were going toe-to-toe with Darth Cody’s Stormtroopers and coming out on top while Laois were being caned at home by Kerry. What a difference a year makes.

Dispensing with the fiction that you are reading this while oblivious to the result, what to make of the win? It reflects a surprisingly robust record against Kilkenny in Walsh Park, the eighth win in 24 games at the venue, and the fifth in the last ten. Perhaps all that time the pitch has been a quagmire which has played into the hands of our more agricultural hurlers versus their great artisans of the game. I didn’t think much of the pitch to begin with, reasoning that every ground is going to suffer from the same problem thanks to such a wet winter. But as Galway and Cork racked up a cricket score in their game, it does suggest a problem particular to Walsh Park.

For make no mistake, Kilkenny did not make the adjustment to the conditions as well as Waterford did. That will be taken as self-evident by those in the know, a snide smirk at Waterford folk getting notions from such a result. For this benefit, please be assured tgat we already discount the fact that Kilkenny will be operating to a different timescale to the rest of us. Still, it was mildly shocking to see the extent to which they were operating as if they were on a summer pitch, frequently misjudging the bounce of the ball, or at least doing it a lot more than Waterford were doing it.

The flip side of such a coin is that Waterford made the adjustment, and that can’t be a bad thing, right? Perhaps it can be. At half-time my brother wondered whether Waterford were a team of winter hurlers, perhaps the most grievous insult you can level against a team. It was something I was pondering myself in the first half as Waterford, bolstered by The System, swarmed all over Kilkenny. This business of playing a sweeper was a success this time last year, propelling Waterford to a historic eight-game winning run. It was clear by the high summer though that it could only bring you so far.

Or maybe it’s not clear. Derek McGrath has forgotten more about the game than I have ever known (not that that would be hard, sez you) and you have to have faith that he knows what he is doing. Does The System only need a tweak to catapult us to September glory? Is it more important to establish a winning habit in these months? Laois people could certainly vouch for the value of such a concept as they survey a season that looks wrecked before it has ever left the slipway. Either way, it’s clear you have to trust that he knows what he is doing.

Or maybe it’s not clear. For while it’s fair to dampen down expectations on the basis of Kilkenny’s level of preparedness for this game, it’s also fair to be excited by the quality of player we have to work with. There were some really fine performances from Waterford, and it was the best of them that demonstrated that we still have some slack with which to work. It’s not too strong to say that Austin Gleeson was unplayable. Watching him get the ball inside his own half after 63 minutes on an energy-sapping pitch and proceed to storm past half the Kilkenny team into their 45, it made me want to weep with joy that he is one of ours and is, injury and passion permitting (touch wood), going to be traumatising opponents with that kind of run for the next decade. Incredibly it was a performance that had room for improvement as he slashed the ball wide on six occasions with unnecessary Hail Mary efforts. Factor in a horrible free-taking performance from Maurice Shanahan, which can surely be put down to one of those days with the oul calibration – it’s not as if he hasn’t done it before in much more pressurised circumstances – and with Shane Bennett and Patrick Curran both looking like they belong in this kind of company, I can say with a straight face that we should have walloped Kilkenny out the gate. Indeed, I’m certain that if were to play Kilkenny again next week we’d do exactly that.

I can’t believe I just said that. That’s those stream-of-consciousness ramblings for you, leaving you all manner of hostages to fortune. I’m going to be cocky about it though. Yes, Kilkenny will be primed to peak at a different time to us, with all the experience they have doing that to rely upon. It’ll be a cold day in Hell though before Kilkenny send out a team to phone it in against Waterford. A wild shoulder charge right at the end from Colin Fennelly on Kevin Moran, which could have resulted in a straight red had the ref not had the soft option of giving him a second yellow, exemplified their frustration. We have a game next week against a team – Cork – who have to be up to speed, seeing as they can’t afford to be aiming to peak in the Championship lest they find themselves completely short and nowhere to go like they were last year. We’ll probably know better where we stand after that game, but let’s enjoy the Kilkenny-beating moment now rather than waiting for a time which might never come.