Watershed win proves elusive for Deise fans
MANY of the fans who trailed out of Croke Park yesterday weren't even born when Waterford last beat Kilkenny in hurling.
Deise fans were quietly hoping for a win to bridge the five-decade gap to when last the county beat their great rivals. But it was not to be as Kilkenny qualified for their sixth consecutive All-Ireland hurling final with a six-point victory at GAA headquarters in front of 31,634 fans.
Three generations of one Deise family -- Colm Alboquers-Lynch (6) and his father Keith from Tyrellstown, Dublin 15, and grandfather Ed from Lismore, Co Waterford -- had their collective fingers crossed before throw-in.
"We're playing against the odds," Keith said. "We're optimistic rather than confident. We need to hold out for the first 20 minutes and we could do it."
As the crowds poured out of the stadium, the air was one of quiet celebration for Kilkenny fans, many of whom felt the team had taken it too easy during the match.
The O'Donnell family from Graiguenamanagh, Co Kilkenny, have been going to matches together for 10 years. "They were all right, but I expected more from them," said Thomas (17).
His father Nick, mother Mary and sister Orla agreed. "There was room for improvement," Nick said.
Despite the defeat, Waterford fans held their heads high. Mother and daughters Bridget, Shelly and Aoife Phelan, from Avondale, Co Waterford, said the team did them proud.
Kilkenny will go head to head with Dublin or Tipperary in September's final. "There is only one team we want to see at the final," Michael Delany, from Kilkenny city, said. "That's Tipp. That'll be some match."
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