Ringside and teary-eyed at Bernard Dunne’s dethroning, Davy Fitzgerald (who’d brought in the boxer to talk to the Waterford hurlers immediately before and during their All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Kilkenny) was conspicuous by his absence at Sunday’s county senior hurling clashes at Walsh Park, and later Fraher Field.
Presumably the County Board are more in-the-know that the general Waterford GAA public, who might be wondering what’s happening. Hopefully the scouts for the incoming set-up, whoever they may be, have been out and about.
One thing that’s certain is that Waterford have an embarrassment of riches at the moment in terms of hurling goalkeepers.
Sunday’s four SHC semi-finalists were able to call on top-class custodians. Lismore’s last line of defence is former county No1 and up-and-coming coach Brendan Landers; Ballygunner had Déise Minor and De La Salle College ’keeper Stephen O’Keeffe between the posts; Mount Sion’s Ian O’Regan, who made a county comeback in this year’s National League, remains ever-reliable; while Ballyduff Upper’s Adrian Power (pictured) is a household name in the making.
The DJ-by-night scored four points in the Duffers’ defeat by Lismore, who, considering Ballygunner’s wastefulness during a bloodless victory over their surprisingly muted city rivals (which owed itself to a vintage Paul Flynn goal) must have half a chance of landing a first senior county title since 1993.
As our west Waterford GAA correspondent Thomas Keane observed, Power’s prodigious length from puck-outs and placed balls makes him a hugely valuable weapon.
In the first half alone at Fraher Field the WIT student struck six long-range frees, sending four, including one from all of a hundred metres, sailing between the Lismore posts. Not only that, but a goal resulted from his first delivery.
“I’m sure hurling buffs will be racking their brains to see when last a goalkeeper had such an influence on the scoring in thirty-plus minutes of hurling,” says Thomas, adding: “It was also worth noting that usually when frees are taken the person taking them tries to steal a few yards and more often then not gets away with it. However Power did the opposite… each time he struck a free he brought the ball a yard or two closer to his own goal, which makes his shooting somewhat more spectacular.”
Whoever the 2010 Waterford manager is will surely be weighing that dimension to his game – in addition to his shot-stopping prowess, also on display – against the dependability that earned Clinton Hennessy an All Star nomination. A certain Ger Cunningham, manager of Ballygunner and a possible Portlairge candidate perhaps, would surely be a fan.
For all the FULLBACK stories see our print edition.