Sport Hurling

Tuesday 12 December 2017

'This is just the start for Deise'

Boss Power hints at interest in senior job as Curran magic ends 65-year wait

Patrick Curran, Wsterford, celebrates after scoring his side's goal during the Electric Ireland All-Ireland MHC Final
Patrick Curran, Wsterford, celebrates after scoring his side's goal during the Electric Ireland All-Ireland MHC Final
The Deise team celebrated in style after winning at Croke Park yesterday

Donnachadh Boyle

IT might just be, Waterford manager Sean Power suggested afterwards, the start of something.

Waterford 1-21 Galway 0-16

IT might just be, Waterford manager Sean Power suggested afterwards, the start of something.

Power had just seen his side deliver a first All-Ireland in this grade in 65 years and finish a job that must have seemed so far away when they were sent through the back door in Munster by Tipperary and downed again in the provincial decider by Limerick.

And with 15 minutes to go, they looked to be losing their way. Grade specialists Galway, with 10 All-Ireland final appearances since the turn of the millennium, had pulled themselves back into the game on the restart. But then Waterford exploded, reeling off 1-6 to just a single point in a blistering final quarter.

It caps a remarkable year for hurling in the county. Nine of the squad were adding this medal to the All-Ireland Colleges title they won with Dungarvan Colleges earlier this year. For some, like winning captain Kevin Daly, it was All-Ireland medal No 3 of the year as Dungarvan CBS also captured the Colleges 'B' title.

Achievement

"The wider context is it is such an achievement," Power said. "They are a great bunch of lads, role models for so many young guys in Waterford and for people around the country.

"This will generate a bit of interest around the country. It is nice for another county to win a bit of silverware than, let's say, the traditional counties. Please God, it will lift the game of hurling and lift everyone's interest in it."

Waterford took a three-point lead (0-12 to 0-9) in at the break but it could have been much more.

Goalkeeper Cathal Tuohy was one of Galway's best performers, pulling off three good saves, as man of the match Patrick Curran and Stephen Bennett – a three-year veteran at minor along with Micheal Harney – caused problems throughout.

Power's side went five clear before Galway enjoyed their best period. With Darragh O'Donoghue and Shane Cooney performing heroics in the Tribesmen's defence, their forwards got going as Brian Molloy and Brian Burke found their range to tie the game up at 15 points each.

But from there, Waterford took charge. They reeled off three points in a row before Bennett grabbed his fourth of the day. Then came the goal as Galway went short with the next puck-out but were turned over.

There was nothing Tuohy could do to stop Curran's rasping shot and suddenly the gap was at seven and Waterford were on their way to making a little piece of history as the first team to win an All-Ireland despite losing twice. Despite those setbacks, Power insists that he never lost the faith.

"I could see the potential in it but it was a long way off," he reflected. "Even after the Tipperary defeat, I still had hope and I believed in these guys and they trusted in me as well thankfully."

The spotlight in the county shifts back to finding a senior manager for a new season and Power's case is strengthened, though he wouldn't be drawn on the job.

"I was very focused on the role of minor manager and I wanted to do really well with these guys," he said.

"I know it's come up a bit but it's probably not something I'd be thinking about now or anytime soon. Nah, not right now. Now, ask me that Tuesday."

Mattie Murphy, who was also Galway manager back in 1992 when Waterford were last in the final, offered no excuses, insisting the Hawk Eye issue from the semi-final had no impact on his side.

"With 15 minutes to go and you are level, you are really in the game," he said. "But we never went ahead. Had we gone a couple of points up, it might have put doubt in their minds and dented their confidence but we didn't and that was it.

"Once they went a couple of points up and smelled victory they really drove on and the goal was the real nail in the coffin. No excuses, the better team won."

SCORERS – Waterford: P Curran 1-7 (4fs, 1 '65'), M Kearney, Stephen Bennett 0-4 each, C Roche 0-3, DJ Foran, T Devine A Gleeson (f) 0-1 each. Galway: B Molloy 0-5 (4fs), R O'Meara 0-4, D Dolan 0-3, C Whelan, A Morrissey (s-l), B Burke, S Cooney (f) 0-1 each.

Waterford – G Power; W Hahessey, K Daly, C Leamy; M Harney, A Gleeson, Shane Bennett; M O'Brien, T Devine; Stephen Bennett, DJ Foran, M Kearney; A Farrell, P Curran, C Roche Subs: C Curran for Foran (38), C Gleeson for Farrell (45), P O'Connor for C Roche (58), S O'Neill for Hahessey, B Whelan for Shane Bennett (both 60).

Galway – C Tuohy; M O Conghaile, D O'Donoghue, M Conneely; R Doyle , S Cooney, E Burke; S Linnane, J Hastings; C Shaughnessy, D Dolan, R O'Meara; A Morrissey, B Molloy, C Whelan. Subs: V Doyle for Doyle (27), E Brannigan for Linnane (h-t), B Burke for Whelan (37), R Bellew for Hastings (53), S Burke for E Burke (58).

Ref – C McAllister (Cork)

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