Editor’s note: John Mullane is the Brand Ambassador for JJ Kavanagh & Sons and will be bringing his thoughts on this years All Ireland Hurling Final.
Waterford are back in an All-Ireland Senior Hurling final for the first time in nine years, how does it feel? What’s the atmosphere down in Waterford like?
It’s a great feeling to be back in an All-Ireland senior hurling final for the first time in nine years! The county has a very good senior hurling team and I can feel the good times coming back to Waterford. The atmosphere is electric down here and everyone is looking forward to the big day in Croker.
Back in 2008, it almost seemed that Waterford fans were happy to just get there. Do you think that there will be higher expectations now? What was it like for you?
In 2008 everything was new for both players and supporters. After waiting for so long to reach a final it was only natural for supporters to go all out and enjoy the build up to the final. The reality back then was Kilkenny were going for ‘three in a row’ and on the pathway to making history and becoming the greatest team of all time. This year has a different feel about it and Waterford have a 50/50 chance of winning the All Ireland Hurling Final. This Waterford team are winners and have had under age success to back it up and have that winning mentality.
For the likes of myself back in 2008, it was a very draining experience leading up to the match. The fact that Dan Shanahan. Eoin Murphy, Kevin Moran and the ‘Brick’ Walsh have experienced 2008 they will have learned an awful lot and will try go a different route and brush up in areas that failed the last time.
How do you think the team will prepare ahead of this epic final? Will they play with the same system?
I think the team and management will go about their business in the same professional manner they’ve approached their games this Summer. They will try as best they can to keep everything low key in the build to the match and in their preparation. I think they will 100% maintain the system that has brought them within 70 minutes of heaven!
Eddie Brennan believes that video evidence definitively showed Hurler of the Year Austin Gleeson breaking the rule in Waterford’s semi-final victory, which would’ve seen him miss the All-Ireland final. What do you think of this? Do you agree?
The video evidence from the previous week showed Adrian Tuohy breaching the rule and common sense prevailed and leniency was given to Tuohy so he wouldn’t miss the final. This was rightfully followed for Austin Gleeson. At the end of the day, Eddie is entitled to his opinion. I’m of the opinion that there wasn’t anything malicious and these incidents can often happen sometimes and in the blink of an eye without a player actually knowing what they’ve done until it’s shown in the aftermath that night.
Conor Gleeson will now miss the final, how do you feel about this?
It’s thoroughly disappointing for both Conor and his family. I’m surprised that the management didn’t go with all avenues to try to get him off. I suppose they would have thought long and hard about it and they probably feel they haven’t a hope of getting him off. Conor will be a massive loss to Waterford. He is a massive cog in that wheel and was excellent this year for Waterford in all the games that he played in. For me, he is a contender for an All Star and Young Hurler Of The Year. We won’t really know until the day how much of a loss he will be but hopefully, Conor will gather himself and re galvanise himself and play a big part in trying to get the lads over the line on September 3rd.
In an interview with Beat 102.3, Henry Shefflin mentioned that if Waterford WIN the All Ireland Final that you will ride naked down the Quays in Waterford! Will you be a man of your word?
Henry and I were having some banter outside the grounds after the game which is always good to see a ten time All Ireland Winner having fun! Looking back, it was a bit banter and we’ll have to wait for the final outcome. If the lads win we can negotiate something but I’m a man of my word and I’ll hope to do something to raise a few bob for charity and for the hurlers holiday fund.
Are you heading to Croker on the 3rd September to support Waterford?