Déise dreamin'

Waterford City was decidedly short on flags when we passed through. Evidently the humiliation of last year's All Ireland Hurling Final defeat to the Cats killed any enthusiasm or hope which may have flourished in any other year. Not this year. There was feck all Déise dreamin' this time around.
I was keen to get to a decent pub to see the game, more in hope than expectation, but we were driving from Kerry to Inishbofin and we found ourselves in the heart of Connemara as the game pucked off. Not a pub to be found in what must be Ireland's scarceliest pubulated area.

Never mind. Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh kept us updated as we sped down the road towards the ferry at Cleggan. My haste to reach the pub was slowed as I concentrated on his commentary, compensating to the extent I drove neither faster nor slower than I normally do. In between, I was trying to explain the rules of the game to Jenny who had never seen hurling before, but had heard from just about everyone in the previous week, myself included, that it was "the best and most skillful game in the world".
"You just have to hit the ball with the stick," I told her. "And make sure Kilkenny don't score."

Joy fluctuated with despair and back again. A Waterford goal was followed by a Kilkenny goal and a flurry of points. We got to Cleggan just as the Déise were in the ascendancy, as they threatened another famous comeback. I burst into the pub to find on old man, the barman, beside a fire and no one else. He had the match on; I didn't care. The Waterford lads brought the gap down to just two points. Go on!

That was as good as it got however; the damned Cats were just too good. Ah well! The wait goes on. 1947 was the last time Waterford won an All-Ireland, their second. Kilkenny meanwhile have 31 and will be looking to add to that again in September. Fuckers.
"Only those from Waterford can ever understand," as Davina, a proud Déise woman, told me last year. I guess it's in the blood.

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