Déise debutant Dunford the pride of Colligan

Waterford’s team announcement for tomorrow’s Munster SHC quarter-final with Cork was enthusiastically greeted by one modest junior club in particular.

Colin Dunford, one of four Déise debutants, will become the first member of the Colligan Rockies club to represent the county in senior championship since Jimmy Beresford in 1996.

An 18-year-old gap bridged at the tender age of 19.

Secretary Gerry Quinlan admitted: “It’s a small junior club so it’s a great achievement. We have known how good he is so it’s great to see him progressing on from his success last year on the senior colleges’ teams to now moving on to the Waterford senior hurling team.”

Colligan ply their trade in the Western Junior Hurling championship and were beaten in last year’s final by Ballysaggart, who subsequently contested the All-Ireland final. The low playing numbers means amalgamation with neighbouring clubs Modeligo, Sliabh gCua and Kilgobnet at minor and U21 grades. Quinlan explained: “We would have less than 200 members in our club. It’s a small parish team and we play junior hurling and football so for us to have a player break onto the senior hurling panel, never mind the team, is a great honour. There will be an awful lot of people who are going to travel now on the strength of that to support him and show how proud we are of him.”

Dunford was a member of the Dungarvan Colleges side that won back-to-back Harty Cups before winning the Croke Cup. He spent two years on the Waterford minor set-up (2011 and 2012) and started at corner forward for the U21 side last July.

This season, he was joint captain on the IT Carlow Fresher team that won the Division 1 All-Ireland league title against UCC.

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