If success is the greatest of sporting virtues, consistency ranks next. Yes, we’re talking about Waterford.
Six games, four wins, one draw. One defeat in 14 league outings dating back to the beginning of last season.
Derek McGrath’s Waterford have become the kind of solid citizens that their predecessors of the mid-noughties never were — and, to be fair, never tried to be or wanted to be.
This crowd turns up on time, they work a shift and they pay their bills. All days, all weathers.
They’re not Kilkenny, obviously. Nor are they as expansive and attractive as Tipperary are on their day, but they’re not as unpredictable either.
Tipperary could be an item in Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates: You never know what you’re gonna get. With Waterford you know.
But in that very predictability, earnest and admirable as it is, lies a source of hope for Limerick tomorrow.
The league champions have been averaging just short of 0-19 per match to date in this campaign.
It is not an outlandish target for TJ Ryan’s charges to have to reach; far from it. They’d have to hit way more than 0-20 to beat Kilkenny. They shouldn’t have to hit way more than 0-20 to beat Waterford.
Their afternoon in Cusack Park, when Ryan chose not to commit too many men forward for fear of causing traffic chaos in the Clare half, should stand to them in that they’ll have a better idea of how to pick their way through the enemy defence.
And it goes without saying that the veldt of Semple Stadium will allow them to move the sliotar wide. Still, Waterford have a knack of winning tight games. They’ve a knack of winning tight games because they make sure to prevent them becoming open games. Here’s a guess rooted in an attempt at logic: Waterford 1-19 Limerick 0-20. Let’s see if we end up in the same ballpark. Or out in Thurles Sarsfields’ back field.
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