This weekend will be unique in the Waterford area with the neighbouring counties of Waterford and Kilkenny clashing in the All-Ireland final.

There is a great atmosphere around over the past two weeks as we savour this unique sporting clash that is held in the very best of spirits.

Kilkenny are the obvious favourites but winning three in a row All-Irelands is hard and maybe the luck favours Waterford as Kilkenny do not often win when the year ends with 8, which is the Chinese lucky number.

With news on the economy worsening and the summer weather saddening people too, the hurling final has lifted all our spirits and we are really thankful for that, whatever the result.

Great to see such colour around the city and county as homes and businesses put up great numbers of flags. Well done to all.

There is great goodwill from around the country that Waterford should get that long sought McCarthy Cup final win.

Nearly all of Ireland would like to see Waterford win and break the All Ireland famine.

Davy Fitzgerald, the manager, has instilled new vigour into the team after replacing Justin McCarthy who laid great groundwork for the team and squad, winning Munster and League titles.

After an earlier absence, Eoin Kelly has been a revelation with key goals and points to win matches and make that difference, but overall the players are performing as a unit and giving everything.

We recall travelling to Limerick for the first round in the Munster Championship and seeing the Deise beaten by Clare, the eventual Munster finalists, since then, the team has been transformed and have improved with each game.

Watch out for Kilkenny, they are old hands at playing a low profile and putting in a huge performance on the day, eventually winning in a canter of goals.

Deise fans believe that luck is on their side this year and despite the strong favourites tag that the bookmakers have bestowed on Kilkenny. An upset is possible.

One of the best signs around the county is that of “beware of the underdog”.

This should be a closer game than last year, when Limerick were run ragged. Here is hoping for a sporting encounter.

There has been a fantastic atmosphere in Waterford city and county, as well as in our neighbouring county Kilkenny.

Worries about the economy and jobs have been set aside as sports takes prominence.

It has been marvellous to get this focus on the south east. Long may it continue.