All-Ireland win start of ‘better times’ for Waterford
Team manager Seán Power hails victory for minor team as positive sign for county
Fans greeting the All-Ireland minor hurling winners in Waterford. Photograph: Patrick Browne
Waterford’s first All-Ireland minor hurling title success in 65 years could become a catalyst for a brighter future for a city with the highest urban unemployment rate in the country, team manager Seán Power said.
Amid the euphoria which greeted the team’s homecoming to Waterford city and Dungarvan last night, which drew thousands of well-wishers on to the streets, Mr Power said he hoped Sunday’s victory would turn more than just the pages of local sporting lore.
“We’ve had plenty of hard luck and hard stories on and off the field in Waterford these past few years, with job losses, with the downturn in the economy here,” he told the crowd assembled on the Mall.
“So let this be a catalyst for Waterford, the start of something good to come, and that we can drive things on from here, get these guys into under-21 and senior teams, to turn them into All-Ireland winners at those grades as well, to do what we can to collectively lift this city and county towards better times.
“We’ve got great people in Waterford, driven people, motivated people, so let this be the start of better things to come for the people of Waterford.”
Arriving on to the Mall in an open-top bus before being introduced to the estimated gathering of 5,000 Waterford supporters, the panel and management were also given a reception by mayor John Cummins.
“I’ve had emails from as far away as Australia, the United States and South Korea from proud Waterford people, sending their congratulations to the team; this is a success which has resonated among our diaspora,” Mr Cummins said.
“It took eight hard matches to win this title, to bring the Irish Press Cup back across Rice Bridge for the first time in 65 years, but let’s hope that this is the first of many celebrations we’ll have in Waterford in the coming years and that when we gather here again in the future, we’ll have an even bigger prize – the Liam McCarthy Cup .”
For dedicated Waterford fans, Sunday’s success was a long time coming. “I’m 40 years going to matches, and my husband Michael has been following Waterford at all levels for 61 years,” said Theresa Barry of Dunhill. “So to have a win like this, and to be alive to see it, sure it’s only wonderful.”