History could well be made this Sunday in Fraher Field when Waterford take on Mickey Ned O’Sullivan’s Limerick for a place in the Munster football final. Not since 1960 has a Waterford team run out on Munster final day. This season several factors have conspired to give Waterford a massive chance of reversing 50 years of ill fortune and winning a place in the provincial showpiece.
At the end of 2009, Coiste Peil, the County Board sub-committee with responsibility for football, decided that John Kiely had taken the senior football team as far as he could and they replaced him with John Owens. The circumstances of Kiely’s departure is old ground that does not need to be raked over but the new incumbent was under serious pressure to get results from day one.
That Waterford managed to go all the way to the league final unbeaten is a testament to the work done by the Ulsterman, his selectors and most of all the players over a difficult winter. There was a feeling in the county over the last couple of years that the players had an unwavering loyalty to Kiely and that this would be tested by the appointment of a new manager.
Owens managed to retain the services of the vast majority of Jackon’s squad and even added to it over a difficult winter. In the initial weeks after his appointment, the extremely harsh weather played havoc with team preparations and Waterford went into the McGrath Cup campaign with very little training done. They eventually exited that particular competition following a narrow loss to the All-Ireland champions Kerry.
As everyone knows at this stage, Waterford enjoyed a successful league campaign which eventually came to a halt with a narrow loss to this Sunday’s opponents in Croke Park.
See The Munster Express newspaper for full story.