Waterford Ladies Football manager Pat Sullivan is hoping that a large contingent of Deise fans will travel to Croke Park to get behind his team’s bid to win the All-Ireland Intermediate title.
Speaking ahead of his side’s clash with Kildare next Sunday, Sullivan is hopeful that, with a vocal following in the stands down Jones’s Road, the women in white and blue can return to a grade the county dominated back in the 1990s.
“What’d be great to see is as many white and blue flags waving in Croke Park for our team,” he said.
“We’ve had great support from the players’ families and their clubs down through the years at all age levels, but it’d be fantastic to see some more Waterford GAA supporters travelling to Dublin and getting behind the team the way did for the camogie team last Sunday week.”
Pat added: “This is what these players have put in all these months of training for, to get into a position to win an All-Ireland title and return to the senior grade.
“We know we’re facing a big test on Sunday, but we’re not looking at this as us preparing for a Kildare final: we’ve got to go out and stick with our attacking brand of football and try and impose our will on the game, as opposed to the other way around. We’ve got to have faith in what we’ve done well up to now and hope that will be good enough to get us across the finish line next Sunday. And with a big following behind them, who knows what might happen?”
Pat, who had previously managed Waterford at Under-14 and U-16 level, is delighted to see the footballing gospel spreading beyond its traditional heartland in Ballymacarbry.
“We’ve got players from Ballyduff Upper, Tramore and Abbeyside in the panel. At underage level, we now have a spread of players stretching from Ballysaggart to Tramore and Roanmore, and we’ve had big additions too from Gaultier which, traditionally, had been solely a camogie club for many years, so the spread we’ve got now is expanding, which is fantastic and a great indicator for future progress.
“What we have is as good as what’s out there, and I have no qualms in saying that. And we’ve a lot going for us, which is very encouraging. From one through to twenty-seven, we have a lot of quality.”
As for Sunday afternoon, once that ball is thrown in at 1.45pm? “The main thing, I feel, will come down to who wants it more. It’ll all come down to the there and now of that hour on the field in Croke Park,” he said.
“We’ve had a tough passage: Clare in the Munster Final, Sligo in the quarter-final and Leitrim in the semi-final. We’ve played to our strengths throughout this Championship and that has served us really well. And we’re not going to adopt a different stance now.”