With five minutes left in the second round of the qualifiers in July 2017, Waterford are poised to end their brutal Hoodoo anti-climactic campaign against Kilkenny.
Not a bit of it. At the end of normal time, people were amazed at Kilkenny’s interest in survival, which is now considered comparable to that of Lazarus or Charlie Hughes, or one of the soap characters who returns to the city after 10 years. They made the Meath ’91 team look like ‘bottlers’.
By its own standards, in 2017 Kilkenny was in rag order. They lost to Wexford at the Leinster Championship for the first time in 13 years. They overtook John Kylie’s Limerick (whatever happened next …) in a bug fix qualifier in Na Nowlan Park.
From the start, they were always jumping in the air against Waterford at Simple Stadium.
Until the busy final, their greatest arrogance was kept to one side, while Brian Cody considered Dan Shanahan ‘s side gig to be a backup lineman and go into the Waterford management’s square, surpassing the fourth official in the process – a Dior Coim in Portoulie, who was in Portoulie that summer. Incident.
Harling, as always, decided that this would not be linked to the nigo and nanny culture of football, but the incident was not related to Cody.
The clock dropped seven points after 65 minutes, setting Kilkenny down for the worst summer championship of the Cody era.
TJ Reed scored a home goal, reminiscent of the Seahawks, who ran backwards in Seattle. This was a truly extraordinarily ugly goal – the usual Kilkenny-Isk display of willpower and warfare.
We’ve all seen it during the Cody era, where a match seems to slip away from Kilkenny, and a player with black and amber is fatally upset at the state of the scoreboard and he spins around like a whirlwind. One time pulls them back into the game. His whole bearing was ‘No, you’re not going to win this game!’
Surprisingly, considering their history in this match, it seemed to touch Waterford and, almost inevitably, Kilkenny scored the next three points to level the match.
Although Waterford had one last chance to win in normal time, the scope of Maurice Shanahan’s post was reduced.
Waterford people on the sidelines and stands let out a sigh of despair. There was considerable disbelief that Kilkenny had somehow wrestled to get a draw out of this situation.
Neutrals who had seen everything before sighed that they would definitely go and win now.
We now know that it did not happen. It is the duty of Derek McGrath and the management team to calm the shaken players and prime them for the extra time that follows.
Jamie Barron, who was revived this year and was named the Harler of the Year nominee that year, was a central player as Waterford made no mistakes in the extra 20 minutes.
More and more people are coming up with the idea that Waterford can beat Kilkenny in this week’s All-Ireland semi – final. Head-to-head numbers are bad, but history has no weight.
They threw away that yoke three years ago.
Despite the perception that Waterford are the victims of a hoodoo that has been around for decades against Kilkenny, this match is actually quite modern.
Prior to 1998, when Waterford graduated under the management of Gerald McCarthy, the pair’s championship history was limited to a short period in the late 50s / early 60s.
Kilkenny was a regular presence in what we now call the ‘All-Ireland Series’, while Waterford has only rarely progressed, winning five Munster titles in the twentieth century.
Waterford’s second – most recent – All-Ireland final victory came in 1959 with a replay against Kilkenny.
This was still the path news era. RTE was the old radio Iron at the time, but BBC television sent Kenneth Wallstone Home.
It was more difficult to quantify the ‘British reaction’ in the days, but Kendermot admitted to Gilles that he had received some setbacks in Ireland due to the Sports View editor’s excessive interest in showing “players battle”. Was out of his control. He also felt a slight embarrassment when asked for a scotch and water, saying that the only whiskey near them was Irish.
On the pitch, Seamus Power saved the equalizer for Waterford and sent All Walsh back into the goal with a late goal. Tom Chesty captained the replay, with Waterford winning by eight points 2-02.
Waterford’s first two Championship games against Kilkenny ended in narrow and unfortunate defeats during the Color Television era.
In 1998, BC last year (before Cody), the relevant player in the senior championship for the first time since ’89, and Kilkenny 1-11 to 1-10 () in the All-Ireland semifinals if their radar is slightly off, it could be a half-time score on Saturday).
I have so many memories of the 2004 Munster Final victory that I forgot how close Waterford came to overtake Kilkenny in the semi-finals. Justin McCarthy’s team conceded three goals and failed to shake the net, yet lost by just three points.
After the infamous All-Ireland final in 2008, Waterford played Kilkenny’s perpetual whipping boys.
Waterford’s first appearance in 35 years has been a brutal experience, from the moment the team bus got stuck in the gateway behind the Cusack stand.
“Two goals in one minute, it looks like this final will be reduced to ashes,” Jer Canning declared in the 21st minute after Eddie Brennan scored his second goal.
Halfway through, the scoreboard read ‘2-16 to 0-05’. “The dressing room was in shock,” John Mullen later wrote. “We knew our dream was dead. We are now living a nightmare.”
Over the next few years Kilkenny continued to beat Waterford. The edges began to shrink as the cats gradually (very gradually, so to speak) descended from the steep peak. In the 2009, 2011 and 2015 semi-finals, Waterford held the arm’s length.
In their final year in 2013, Cody’s team escaped from the Kevin Moran-inspired Waterford over time, with a win in overtime.
In the 2016 semifinals, Walter Walsh’s 69th-minute goal saved Waterford’s glory until they saved a replay for the reigning champions. Kilkenny won a Titanic replay at Turles, and Waterford was awarded the Austin Gleeson’s Harler of the Year award.
Waterford enters the weekend game in poor health. The turnaround in their form and fortune is astonishing in its speed. In 2019, the county regained its status as Harling’s sick person in the mid-90s.
As the year progresses rapidly, they are quickly partying like 2017. According to the game record, Thaddeus de Barca is attacking, Stephen Bennett is collecting big scores, Austin Gleeson is back in form, and formerly Brighton & Hove Albion’s Desi Hutchinson showed intense hunger and hunger for goals on the inner forward line.
After leading to two consecutive U20 titles, Liam Cahill can be considered the anointed of Tipperary, but his stock rose in his first season as Waterford senior boss.
Kilkenny remains a severe obstacle. Many are skeptical of the value of a ‘winning tradition’ when players “cross the white line”, but Cody’s team is far more than the sum of their parts. They are still seen as a team in transition. No less than eight members of the starting line-up had won All-Ireland medals the previous day – a new team by Cody’s standards.
Their victory over Galway in the Leinster final was annoying to most observers, and to their opponents it seemed like a minor setback – almost equal to one of Novak Djokovic’s final displays, bad in all statistics.
But after 2017, history – especially the history of Waterford-Kilkenny – has been a nightmare for Waterford hurling. It will be difficult for them to maintain arm length this Saturday.
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