Former Waterford hurler Paul Flynn has ended years of debate – he was going for goal in their 2004 Munster final win over Cork.
Flynn struck a key second-half goal which paved their way to a memorable 3-16 to 1-21 provincial final success.
The win was all the sweeter considering it was achieved with 14 players – John Mullane had been sent off earlier in the second period – but ultimately the season would end in disappointment for Waterford as their All-Ireland dream was ended by Kilkenny in the semi-final.
But Flynn’s dipping strike was an iconic GAA moment, and he says he meant to arrow the ball under the crossbar of Donal Óg Cusack.
Speaking on SportsJoe’’s GAA Hour podcast, Flynn said: “Not to sound cock-a-hoop about it, it was something that myself and Dan (Shanahan) had.
“We did have a little thing in place that if Dan stood in front of the goalie, the odd day we might try something. We tried it once or twice before and two of them had hit the crossbar, but never one went in. Of course, when it does go in then it’s a mistake.
“It was a shot to nothing. If it hit the crossbar, they’d say, ‘Jaysus, he was unlucky’, but the fact that it went under it, it was a fluke. That’s the way it is.”
Flynn would go on to make a substitute appearance in Waterford’s unsuccessful 2008 final appearance, but he never managed to get across the line with the county. That Munster final still brings rewards his way, he says.
“I’d have to go along with the public perception that I did (mean it),” said Flynn
At this stage, I still get the odd free pint over it. If I contradicted myself, that would stop.
“I have seen it on Twitter over the years, but Sunday was the first time I actually watched the match in full, because of the circumstances, everything that day that goal kept us in it.”
Mullane was sent off for a strike on Cork’s Brian Murphy two minutes into the second half, and as a result, he was suspended for the All-Ireland semi-final against Kilkenny, which Waterford lost by three points. And Flynn confirmed that Mullane had turned down the chance to appeal his sending off even with funding in place to bankroll his legal battle.
“Even if he wasn’t sent off, the GAA were going to go back and get him anyway. He deserved a red because the umpire saw it,” said Flynn.
“He was caught unfortunately for John, but his interview afterwards made up for it.
“There was a savage move (for him to appeal). If you remember around that time, mainly in football, there was a few lads going to court to get injunctions against their suspensions.
“There was a window of opportunity there for John to appeal it. There were talks of it going to the High Court and there was finance being made available. I think they sat down and spoke about it and John decided, ‘no, I’m not going down that route’.
“It was definitely on the table, but he was the one that poured cold water on it before it gained any real momentum. It was honourable alright, but we could have done with him against Kilkenny.”