In this piece of video footage from the early 1990′s, former All-Ireland Waterford goalkeeper (yes, there is such a thing) speaks about the kind of things he’s got up over the course of his hurling career.
With typical self-effacement, he plays down the importance of his own “highlights” or his own role in the extraordinary resurgence of the Tallow club or of all the clubs he worked with around the country.
Well, well. Just when you think that they have the skill trained or drained out of them (I’m not sure which it is), just when you think that they have come up against a better team again, Waterford hurlers pull a victory out of the bag.
They’re now in the semi-final of the All-Ireland again. Since Davey Fitzgerald, the former goalkeeper extraordinaire, has taken over the reins at Waterford, their displays have been dogged, though never beautiful. We long to see them play beautifully again – the way that they had learned how to play under the great skills coach Justin McCarthy. They can’t have forgotten how to play like that, can they? In the last two games, we saw some evidence that that they hadn’t forgotten and that allows some glimmer of hope going into the semi-final against Kilkenny. That, and the fact that you feel that they won’t give up this season no matter what is thrown at them, and it’s a fair enough analysis of last years final to say that they stopped trying, stopped concentrating on simply being first to the ball and competing.
Also, you just never know what can happen in a game. 50 years ago, Waterford were up against the “Kilkenny” of that era – namely the unbeatable Tipperary with their Hell’s Kitchen backline that was nigh on impenetrable. But they met them in the Cork Gaelic Grounds in July 1959. By half time, Waterford had not only held the champions scoreless, but they had managed to score 8 goals and 3 points against them. They rolled on that year to beat a team called Kilkenny in the final…
In this clip (if you run it on a little), you can see their next match, and effictively their All-Ireland semi-final, which they won with Ned Power in goals for Waterford and the very legendary Christy Ring in attack for the Rebels.