The defeat of the Waterford hurlers brought sports fans back to earth last Sunday when we could have been looking forward to a second All Ireland Final appearance in three years. The support was great from the Decies fans and a crowd of 50,000 was up on last year. It was wonderful to see large numbers travel up on the new motorway. A hot day in Dublin greeted Waterford supporters and players.
There was a source of pride in seeing this great new piece of transport infrastructure being used well with the Waterford traffic volume rather large. It showed the motorway’s great potential which will be even more attractive when the last section opens next month. The journey up was made that much shorter and, after defeat, it made it that much easier for patrons to get home.
The team may not have performed as well as expected but the Tipp attack was in excellent form for the match. The scored three goals, what more can one say! The Waterford hurlers have given us a great season with a Munster Championship under our belt after a replay against Cork. Those were tough games and they will be the ones savoured. There will be much debate about management tactics that won other games but not this one. Davy Fitzgerald is a very good manager, the odd decision can be questioned but he has brought the team a long way from the All Ireland defeat of two years ago. Waterford is still a well respected team in the country, third best in Ireland.
The retirement of Dan Shanahan will mean some new forwards. John Mullane did great but took some punishment. Some of the defenders needed red cards rather than yellow cards to protect him. Well done to Tony Browne at 37. Hopefully, he will be back again next year as his supporters wish. He is still up there with the best.
Before we conclude we wish Ken McGrath and his family every good wish after the unfortunate incident with his young three-year-old. Given the circumstances, he was a great man to play and do so well and we wish the little girl a full and complete recovery. Sport is put into context when an incident happens to one’s child and the writer can speak from personal experience on this one. Ken played very well and we hope that there are more seasons in him for the future. Tony Browne must be an inspiration to all the players on this point.