Flynn says Gunners taking nothing for granted

He featured in enough of them. Who better than Paul Flynn to look ahead to tomorrow’s Waterford county hurling final?
Flynn says Gunners taking nothing for granted

In the red and black of Ballygunner he won eight county medals between 1992 and 2009 and can cite past campaigns to judge this one.

“I was at the Passage-De La Salle semi-final last weekend - it was raining, the pitch was heavy, but De La Salle still won it.

“Ballygunner played De La Salle a few weeks ago and it was 0-23 to 0-15. The other night Ballygunner beat Lismore 0-18 to 1-13, and in the quarter-final they got 0-29 against Mount Sion.

"They haven’t gotten goals in the knock-out stages yet, which was quite similar to 2005, in terms of weather and pitches being bad. Back then De La Salle were chasing a first county title, and though they’ve won a few since, the expectancy is on Ballygunner, definitely.”

Flynn sees a tight, physical game on the cards - particularly in light of the likely conditions.

“Brian O’Sullivan is playing well, Padraic Mahony is tipping over his frees - I think the weather will help De La Salle, and a heavy pitch, in that it’ll nullify some of Ballygunner’s advantages.

"De La Salle will try to keep it tight and physical in order to try to catch Ballygunner towards the end. The two teams know each other really well, they’ll have a good idea of where the other side’s players will line out.

“De La Salle are probably less resourceful than they’ve been in a while in terms of players, I’d say.”

Not that De La Salle lack quality, of course. Kevin (Moran) was centre-back against Passage and was out of it - but to be fair, Passage were keeping the ball away from him,” says Flynn.

“Sean Whitty had a great chance for Passage in the game, he went through the middle, beat two or three lads, and from seven or eight yards out put it just wide of the post. From that puck-out Kevin won the ball, went through and got a goal - that cut the Passage lead to a point when they should have been seven up.

"That was the moment I’d say De La Salle thought, ‘we’re still in it, we could win this’. And they went on.”

At the Tipperary county final a couple of weeks ago the talk in the crowd was of a likely Ballygunner-Thurles Sarsfields match in the Munster club series. Flynn says that presumptuousness isn’t in the Gunners’ mindset.

“One hundred per cent - and the more this weather deteriorates the more I think there’ll only two or three points in it. I can’t see anyone producing massive scores. You’re probably looking at 1-16 or so, and if your opponents aren’t too far behind they always have a chance.

"The one thing is I’d say Ballygunner got the fright of their lives last weekend against Lismore. That could wake them up - or indicate where they’re really at, maybe. The team needs to be steady. To match De La Salle for desire to stop Ballygunner winning four in a row.

"If their hunger matches De La Salle I think we may have better players in bigger numbers, but there’ll be nothing in it.

“It’s an ideal approach for De La Salle, absolutely ideal, to go into a county final like this. The pressure is on Ballygunner.”

Is it an accurate barometer of where Waterford club hurling is? Flynn thinks so.

“The rankings have nearly played out exactly. Lismore might be the surprise one of the four semi-finalists, after being intermediate, while the likes of Dungarvan would be disappointed with their championship.

"But the top three would be Ballygunner, De La Salle and Passage, with the fourth semi-finalist coming from a group of teams. It’s a fair reflection of the strength of the clubs.”

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