No Waterford team has ever won a Munster Club football championship.
It is a grim statistic at the back of Ballinacourty minds as they embark on their provincial journey against 2008 champions Drom Broadford tomorrow but captain Mark Fives has some interesting observations about the standards in the south east.
“I think there’s five or six excellent teams in Waterford. Stradbally are probably as good as any club team in Munster. That hasn’t really been borne out in Munster championship wins in the last couple of years but there’s no doubt that Waterford football is particularly strong at club level. There’s no complex in Waterford club football when we go into Munster championship.”
Courty’s near miss in the 2007 campaign proved that Déise clubs can mix it with the big boys.
“It was a real novelty for us at the time because Ballinacourty hadn’t won a senior title since the eighties”, Fives recalls. In the last four, they defeated Kerry representatives Kilcummin at Fitzgerald Stadium and progressed to spook Nemo Rangers on their second spin to Killarney. “We enjoyed the experience and we played in Killarney on two days.
“We played the semi-final against Kilcummin and against Nemo then we were unfortunate not to take them on that day.”
After mounting a second half rally, they fell by a thin three point margin (1-10 to 1-7). “We didn’t really know what to expect going into that game. I remember we were five or six points down and we got a goal to bring us back into the game and we had them on the ropes then for a while. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to push on and get the win.”
Avoiding Dr Crokes and Castlehaven for now, he sniffs an opportunity among the Limerick and Clare winners for a precious final spot.
“In any Munster football championship, you are going to look to where the Cork and Kerry teams are drawn because traditionally they are a lot stronger. When you see that you are drawn on the opposite side of the draw, it probably gives clubs from counties like Limerick, Waterford and Clare a little boost.”
Work commitments mean that Fives splits his week between Dublin and home along with several of his colleagues.
“There’s six of us based in Dublin, there’s a couple of lads working in Cork and in college in Cork. There’s a little bit of a commute but it’s easier to make the drive down when you’re winning matches. There’s a good buzz with the lads and good craic in the car on the way up and down.” After winning eight successive games to claim the Conway Cup, another Munster road trip beckons.
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