herald

Monday 20 August 2018

I’m wishing the days away

Scintillating second half shows anything can happen in hurling

DRIVING home from Thurles on Sunday evening on my own I had time to reflect on a blistering second half of hurling enjoyed by 15,000 passionate hurling lovers.

I texted a few close friends to chat about our unpredictable sport which never ceases to amaze.

Waterford had looked like the superior team for vast periods of the opening 35 minutes and were six points clear and cruising just before half time.

Cue marauding wing back Wayne McNamara's charge through the Déise defence and blistering finish and suddenly it was a case of ‘Game on Ger' as Cyril Farell would say.

What a second half these teams produced as the pendulum swung to and fro until underdogs Limerick seemed to be in an uneasy sort of control with a minute plus injury time to go when Waterford won that free a full 30 yards out.

DISBELIEF

You’re subconsciously saying ‘tap it over now Eoin Kelly and you'll probably get one last chance to level it'.

Davy Fitz ran on to issue the instructions and to our disbelief we saw Kelly shoot a poor effort to try and raise a green flag.

Limerick dealt with the optimistic effort easily but then madness ensues, the sliotar is blocked, intercepted and pulled on until it eventually reaches Eoin Kelly who spots John Mullane unmarked (as they'd say in soccer) at the back post.

After being expertly picked out, the De La Salle man doesn't need to be asked twice and with a swing of his hurl, he crushed Limerick's Munster Championship dreams.

DIVIDE

Limerick showed on Sunday that this whole division one/two divide is not at all as significant as the ‘experts' tell us, when it comes to the white heat of championship hurling.

Speaking of revelling in the heat of championship battle, the Cats fairly basked in it in Wexford Park on Saturday night.

The return of King Henry, Richie Power and midfield power-house Michael Fennelly made a huge difference to the balance of Brian Cody's side and there is no doubt, if there ever was any, that they will have a major say in the final destination of Liam MacCarthy in 2011.

For the moment at least Kilkenny are no concern for either ourselves or Galway as we look forward to what we expect will be a battle of minds, bodies and hurling craft on Saturday night.

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