Bigger than big yet, at the end of the day, it’s only a game! That just about sizes up the euphoria that has gripped Waterford city and county as well as all the little pockets of Waterford around the world. It really is an emotional see-saw. One second we cannot even contemplate defeat but our next thought is that, hey, we’re in the All Ireland after 45 years. That’s great isn’t it and, if we lose, sure nobody is going to die, nobody’s going to jail. But one thing is for sure, this hurling team has lifted the spirits of The Deise and its people. Older people say it was the same on previous occasions but there are grandparents out there who weren’t even born then. This is now and the buzz is only wonderful. Waterford to win by four points.

No celebratory sips from MacCarthy and Sam trophies?

As the excitement mounts in advance of the hurling and football finals, an unusual story emerged last week about the McCarthy and Sam Maguire Cups.

Apparently, senior GAA figures held discussions earlier this year aimed at preventing people from drinking alcohol out of the cups as part of year-long celebrations in the victorious counties. One of the suggestions put forward was to have holes drilled in the bottoms of both cups which would prevent any liquid, alcoholic or otherwise, from being retained in the vessels.

It’s not clear whether the intention was a move against alcohol per se or whether it was an attempt to banish all liquids that might be abrasive and damaging to the metal but, either way, an official statement from Croke Park said management was unaware of any such proposal. The thing is so off the wall it is probably true!

The Capetown hurlers
who are Waterford fans

Fr Michael Mernagh, a native of Glenmore who has many friends and acquaintances in Waterford and Kilkenny, runs a number of charitable projects in South Africa that are vital means of support for the local people. When the Waterford senior hurling panel and mentors arrived in Cape Town in 2005 for a well earned holiday, the squad staged an exhibition match with the proceeds going to Fr. Michael’s charities.

 High among those good causes is the Resource and Development Foundation, established by Fr Mernagh to help promote the social inclusion of the millions of poor living in the shanty towns around Cape Town and in the rural areas of the Western Cape province.  Fr Mernagh arrived at the game with a truck load of teenagers who keenly watched the exhibition match and, when presented with the jerseys, hurleys and sliothers by the Waterford squad, took to the field to demonstrate their new stick skills, much to the amazement of the Waterford players and the assembled crowd.

 Since that time, those teenagers, who normally play cricket, have closely followed the progress of the Waterford hurlers.  Fr Mernagh, who works in the Cape for four months of each year promoting both rural and urban community development, strongly believes that, with the right kind of support and skills training, these youngsters could, in time, compete with underage hurling teams in Ireland.  He believes that, because of their hand and eye co-ordination from cricket, they would make skilled hurlers.    He says the result of next Sunday’s All Ireland final will be eagerly awaited by a group of young African hurlers in Capetown.

Meanwhile, Fr Mernagh is finding it increasingly difficult to raise financial support for his work and, if the readers of the Munster Express would like to help, their assistance would be most welcome.  The following are the details. Marathon Trust, CHY 16437, Bank of Ireland, James St, Dublin 8, Sort Code 90 08 77 a/c Number 38491917 or directly to Fr Michael Mernagh, 90 Meath Street, Dublin 8.

 A big, big player

Manager Davy Fitzgerald was putting the Waterford panel through their paces in Walsh Park last Tuesday night when he was approached on the pitch by a huge man fully togged out and wearing a Ferrybank jersey. “Sorry to come forward so late”, said the man, “but I know you want to put the best team out against Kilkenny and I think you should consider me as a late addition to the panel.”

Davy looked the big man up and down and asked him if he could tackle. “Watch this”, said the man and he ran straight at the wall behind the city goal and it crumbled into dust when he hit it with his shoulder.

“That’s impressive, all right”, said Davy, scratching his head. “Tell me, can you run?” “Watch this”, said the Ferrybank man and he took off so fast all Davy could see was the blur of a green jersey in the distance.

“All right, I’m impressed but, tell me, can you pass a hurling ball”, asked Davy. The giant stopped to think before replying hesitantly. “To be honest, boss, I never tried it but, if I can swallow it, I can surely pass it.”

A one-track mind

Jimmy was a fanatical Waterford hurling fan. One night last week he and his wife were in bed and, for the umpteenth time, he was watching the video of the semi-final win over Tipperary on the bedroom television.

Finally, his wife could take it no longer. She was also a Waterford supporter but the constant commentary and cheering were going through her head like a jack-hammer. She jumped out of bed and pulled the television’s plug out of its socket. “Listen”, she said to her shocked husband, “I’m fed up to the teeth with all this bloody hurling. You haven’t touched me in weeks so we’re going to talk about sex right now whether you like it or not.”

“God, Mary, I’m really sorry”, said Jimmy. “Listen, you’re one-hundred per cent correct. I tell you what, I’ll even start off the discussion. Tell me, do you think any of the players are still virgins or what?”