Nervous? Excited? Confident? A bit of all three? The peoples of the city and county have been gripped by hurling fever ahead of Sunday’s All-Ireland senior final, when Waterford take on three-in-a-row chasing Kilkenny at Croke Park.
This Sunday, Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh will become the first Waterford man since Joe Condon in 1963 to lead a Deise hurling XV onto the sacred sod of Croker to contest the Liam McCarthy Cup.
And if the hunt for the Cup produces the sort of energy that fans have invested in the search for tickets over the past week, then we’re in for one hell of a hurling battle.
A cursory glance through online auctioneering site EBay on Tuesday morning revealed just how massive a demand there is to make it inside GAA Headquarters this Sunday.
One Louth-based seller, in possession of four precious tickets, will be rubbing his hands with glee by the time you’ve picked up our latest issue, with bids approaching €1000 registered online.
Two premium level tickets at Croker via EBay would set you back at least €850 at the time of writing, while a single Cusack Stand Lower ticket, being sold by a Fermanagh punter, had attracted a €260 bid.
For our neighbours in Kilkenny, reaching All-Ireland deciders has become commonplace and there’s an air of quiet confidence on the Suir’s north bank. But you won’t find too many Cats counting chickens ahead of the throw-in, despite their favourites’ tag.
“All I know about favouritism is I know for certain that on any given day we could beat Waterford or they could beat us,” said Kilkenny manager Brian Cody.
“Like last year in the League final – Waterford were better than us that day and they beat us. That’s the way it works and if they’re better than us in the All-Ireland final they’ll beat us and we’ll be trying to ensure that doesn’t happen.”
For Waterford manager Davy Fitzgerald, surely vying with Olympic medallist Kenny Egan for the end-of-year Sports Personality award, unity has been a major preparatory element ahead of Sunday’s final.
“We’ve no stars in our team,” he said, during last Wednesday’s media night at the Granville Hotel. “From one to 36, we work as a unit and I think that’s what it’s about. It’s about 36 of us, plus our backroom team working hard for each other…
“Come half three on Sunday, a 70-minute match, the All-Ireland is there to be won. We won’t be going out there just to hand it to them.”