Ballysaggart playing senior hurling for the first time - 'There's no fear and there's no pressure' 

Ballysaggart playing senior hurling for the first time - 'There's no fear and there's no pressure' 
Ballysaggart Manager Adrian Meagher: "We've nothing to lose, we're going to have a right cut off it." Picture: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

Ballysaggart will play senior hurling for the first time in their 135-year-history on Saturday night when they take on De La Salle at Fraher Field.

The West Waterford outfit are one of the oldest and smallest clubs in the country.

"It is small but very spirited," manager Adrian 'Bobo' Meagher told WLR's GAA show Lár Na Páirce.

Meagher never imagined that they would reach senior level when he started hurling for the blue and navy. 

"No, not when I started. Since we reached the All Ireland junior final in 2014, we knew we had good young fellas coming through. We hoped that someday we might get there. It took six years and we got there."

He freely admits that the 2019 intermediate winners will be outsiders in this year's championship. 

We've nothing to lose, we're going to have a right cut off it. 

"We're probably the 12th team in Waterford and we're playing the second best. De La Salle were in the final last year and we have Abbeyside the week after so those are two massive games. 

"There's no relegation this year (following a decision by the Board) so there's no fear and there's no pressure. We hope the lads go out and enjoy it and get a bit of experience. They know they'll be playing senior hurling again next year."

However, Meagher is disappointed that only 45 club members will be able to attend Saturday's historic occasion due to Covid-19 guidelines. 

"Especially given the size of the area we're going into, there should be no problem putting a lot more in there. There's a handful of the team that won the 1972 junior county final still involved in the club. 

It will be special for them and I only hope the likes of them will be able to see the match. When you talk about the field, it was likes of them that brought it from a mountain to this for the lads today.

Forty-three-year-old Eugene O'Brien will line out for Ballysaggart on Saturday night. He has been hurling for the past 28 seasons and netted a crucial goal in the county intermediate final against Ballygunner last October. 

“Janey’s still there and training hard. He’s a magnificent player and a magnificent man. Any young fella should look at him and see the way he looks after himself. 

He’s great for the younger lads on the team, he always talks to them and keeps them going. I’m delighted for him. He’s an unsung hero for us. He was always there with us and kept the thing going.” 

Four Bennett brothers are part of the Saggart squad this season as Ryan joins older siblings Kieran, Stephen, and Shane.

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up