On Monday revered ‘Indo’ columnist Vincent Hogan took the ungrateful whelps that are Waterford’s doubting Davys to task for wailing about the Clareman’s alleged crimes against hurling aesthetics.
“Turns out the county’s artistic wing is feeling short-changed,” he wrote in a flippant piece dripping with sarcasm and condescension. Which seems strange considering Vincent has been the most verbose admirer of the Déise’s doubly-devastating unpredictability all these years.
But then everyone’s allowed to do a double take. Even Davy if he’s ‘returned’, and perhaps rethinks his approach in light of last Sunday week. Some would say he doesn’t need to. Hogan reckons Waterford should be thanking their lucky stars that Fitzgerald – “reared in a climate of winning things” – has reined in their maverick tendencies, holding up the Munster title won last July as evidence of the admirable job he’s done. (And I won’t deny there are those who are genuinely of, and perfectly entitled to, that view.)
Vincent also – rightly – poured scorn on those who dared question whether Brian Cody should make way after Kilkenny’s trimming by Tipperary. But, whatever about weighing up Fitzgerald’s and Cody’s achievements, balanced against the resources they’ve had to work with, Hogan’s argument follows a logical conclusion.
In his interpretation it was “on the back of tactical intelligence” that Waterford beat Cork to win the Munster championship for, he stressed, a mere ninth time. (Though not a mention of the three in the six seasons immediately pre-Fitzgerald.) However, by extension, is it not at least partly the tactician’s doing when his team are on the wrong side of a result, such as in the subsequent All-Ireland semi-final? Or can it be solely the players who are to blame?
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