Owens returns Deise to earth for Limerick challenge after reaching Sky
WATERFORD'S hurlers may have had a nightmare weekend, but the county footballers were on a high yesterday after beating London and getting some unaccustomed exposure from European sport's biggest broadcaster.
Sky Sports took their cameras to Ruislip last weekend to record the novelty of a local Gaelic football match and broadcast a highlights package of Waterford's SFC qualifier victory over London on Sunday morning.
"I can't believe how many people saw us on Sky and have mentioned it -- we were flying home ourselves at the time it was broadcast," said Waterford manager John Owens.
Midfielder Tommy Prendergast missed their big television appearance as he continues to be hospitalised with a freak illness, but Owens said his team-mates used his absence as motivation when they faced the highly fancied Exiles, who had already dispatched Fermanagh.
"Tommy hurt his shoulder against Cork and it just got worse with time," he explained. "It wasn't cut or anything but he just couldn't move it and eventually they discovered he had an infection in it.
"He has been in hospital for 10 days already and they're keeping him in for the moment to monitor it.
"But I think, in a way, he helped us a lot last weekend -- he's one of those players with a huge heart and we mentioned him beforehand, which helped to rally the lads."
Prendergast's Kilrossanty clubmate Paul Whyte certainly took up the slack, scoring 0-7 (4f), while their big target-man Gary Hurney scored 1-3 from play.
Next weekend's third round of the qualifiers has pitted them against a side that Waterford know all too well.
"We've played Limerick four times in the last two years, between league and championship, so there's not a lot we don't know about each other," Owens admitted.
"They're like us this year, in that they've lost a few players as well.
"We know them so well that they gave us a challenge game just two weeks ago and hammered us!"
But the Deise beat Limerick on a 2-8 to 0-8 scoreline back in February, in Division 3 of the Allianz League, when Mark Ferncombe scored a brace of goals in Dungarvan.
Limerick had the now-injured John Galvin that day, while Waterford have lost corner-back Eamonn Walsh -- who sprained his ankle against London -- for a rematch that is expected to be particularly close.