Like the 46A, you wait for one All-Ireland Final appearance to come along, then two come along in a space of a week for the women of Waterford!
Following in the footsteps of their camogie contemporaries, also at intermediate level, Waterford’s ladies footballers, managed by Pat Sullivan, progressed to a first All-Ireland Final since 2012 thanks to an 11-point win over Leitrim at the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday last.
The Deisewomen will play in the IFC showpiece for the third time in six seasons thanks to a 2-17 to 2-6 victory, after an inspirational performance from player of the match Aileen Wall, who, along with substitute Michelle Ryan, netted goals for the victors.
They’ve now got three weeks to prepare for the All-Ireland Final, in which they will face either Kildare or Offaly for what will, hopefully, complete the second half of a historic double for Port Láirge.
A dominant second half display in Limerick on Saturday last, in which they outscored Leitrim by 1-13 to 1-4, ensured Waterford of another Croke Park date on Sunday, September 27th.
This victory, along with the camogie’s team’s superb progress to a first Intermediate Final, demonstrates the strength of women’s GAA in Waterford.
And when one considers how well Waterford’s Under-16 teams have fared in both codes this summer, claiming Munster titles and with the camogie team annexing the ‘B’ All-Ireland title when defeating Dublin last Sunday, we stand, perhaps, on the brink of a golden age for ladies’ GAA in this county.
A great deal of diligent, unheralded work has gone into reviving the strength of our ladies footballers, who, lest we forget, were the dominant power in the land in the 1990s when claiming five senior titles.
And the revival of camogie throughout the country, which has seen old clubs reform and established clubs expand their playing base, has played no small in Waterford emerging as one of the game’s major headline grabbers at underage and intermediate level in recent years.
The greatest prize is now just an hour away for both these teams, but they’ll not be looking for too many pats on the back for reaching Croke Park, sizeable and all an achievement that this most certainly represents.
The white and blue flags flying on The Quay in the build-up to our senior hurlers’ All-Ireland semi-final against Limerick better remain proudly unfurled for a few weeks yet. Because it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that our talented women stand a fantastic chance of doing something unprecedented just a few short weeks from now. Port Láirge abú!