Sunday 19 November 2017

Ó hUallacháin: Support will come when we start winning

Waterford's Tadhg O Huallachain (SPORTSFILE)
Waterford's Tadhg O Huallachain (SPORTSFILE)
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Tadhg Ó hUallacháin describes it as a "crazy little story". The Waterford defender is recalling a moment in their 25-point Munster football championship defeat to Kerry in Killarney three years ago. To him, it illustrated just about everything that sets the top teams apart.

With five minutes remaining Kerry were so far out of sight it made no difference but the voice of Colm Cooper, standing over a free some 55 yards out, made an indelible mark on Ó hUallacháin.

"He just said, 'Five minutes left - I want five scores.' I'm pretty sure they got seven in those five minutes. That's the kind of mentality Gooch and those players have. That's the kind of ruthlessness they have, that they demand of each other."

It leads him inevitably to the proposition of a 'B' Championship which didn't even make the Congress floor earlier this year. The idea of separation from the mainstream angers him somewhat. "We've already played Division 4 teams at this stage. To tell us to go and play Division 4 again in championship and give us a different cup is just wrong."


Under the proposals Ó hUallacháin and his Waterford colleagues wouldn't be denied that day in Killarney because the failed plan dealt with re-routing Division 4 teams after provincial championships.

"We're in college with these boys. We've all played Freshers, Sigerson with these lads with DCU, UCD. You're just a footballer there - it doesn't matter where you're from.

"All of a sudden you put on a county jersey and they say, 'Oh, because you're born there you shouldn't be playing in this competition.' It did upset me.

"We were training from October, November ourselves, then collective training. You want to be playing football in championship in the summer.

"To deny players the right to test themselves against the very best. That's no disrespect to players in Division 4 but you always want to test yourself against the best. Those are the days you live for."

Waterford meet a weakened Tipperary this weekend determined to cut into the 22-point defeat in the corresponding game 12 months ago. But typically preparations have been compressed by commitment to local club hurling games.

"It's not ideal but what can you do? We're the minnows of football. In Waterford, we're struggling against the hurling team. But the harder you work the more you get out of it. When we start stringing a few victories together, it will come good for us. We were very close in Division 4 this year. It broke my heart to watch Louth go up the steps after losing (to them) by a point."

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