On a day when conditions deteriorated with rain bucketing down incessantly, Waterford’s exciting odyssey came to an end. No ifs or buts about the merits of the Dubs victory, although the margin of it, nine points, scarcely did justice to Waterford’s brave effort.
“Of course there’s a sense of disappointment, but I have nothing but pride and praise for all the players,” team manager Pat Nugent said.
“We have no complaints about the result, Dublin were the better team on the day, but every one of our players literally died for the cause of Waterford football.”
Nugent said the seeds for a successful future will only have been sown, however, if they now build on their achievement of winning the Munster championship for the very first time. “I believe they will do that and I believe too there is a real future for football in Waterford,” he said.
The Deise manager said that with eight of the team again eligible in the U21 grade next year he could see them making a very stout defence of that hard-won provincial title.
Team trainer Johnny Hennessy, whose son Niall was captain of the side, also believes Waterford football may have at last turned the corner. “We will have learned from the experience and that will stand us in good stead next year and even further down the line,” the Ardmore clubman said.
Waterford’s defeat has given vital breathing space to the County Board who are facing a major challenge to finish both senior championships in advance of the commencement of the Munster club campaigns.
Now the Lismore/Stradbally senior hurling game will go ahead in Cappoquin on Saturday (5.45pm) with the winners out again the following weekend against De La Salle to decide who joins Mount Sion, Ballygunner, and Fourmilewater in the penultimate round.
Barring draws it is probable that both semi-finals will be staged as a doubleheader at Dungarvan’s Fraher Field on October 12 with the county final likely to be played on October 26.
Incidentally Fraher Field, which has been closed for the last five months to lay a new playing surface and install a new drainage system, is expected to reopen on the weekend of October 4/5.