Waterford stars Austin Gleeson and Tadgh De Burca with Deise fan Callum Tobin
The Blue & Gold buntings and flags have been taken down and stored carefully away for use in Treacy Park until next year but All-Ireland fervour and the search for tickets in Carrick on Suir is just as chaotic.
The clamour for tickets is intense as one of the three Carrick clubs St.Mollerans, a proud Carrick beg club with a great hurling tradition, is unmistakably Deise territory .
St. Mollerans, celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, is in the Waterford parish of Carrick Beg-Windgap, the club play in Waterford and has always had a powerful allegiance to the Deise.
The proliferation of Waterford flags in Carrick Beg signals a passionate Deise support on the other side of the River Suir that divides Carrick. St.Mollerans and its members in Carrick Beg and those that are resident in the town of Carrick are on the lookout for tickets and demand is huge.
“There is a huge demand for tickets all over the town of Carrick and out into the countryside. The demand has been phenomenal. There is just such a buzz around the place” said club PRO Sean Meade.
Sean said the allegiance to Waterford was very powerful because it was so close to the border with Tipperary.
“When we are off around the county playing matches we are told that we are a Tipperary club because we are from Carrick but we let them know that Carrick Beg is Waterford and very proud of it,” said Reade.
He said that the appearance in the All-Ireland was brilliant for the juvenile section of the club which was thriving at the moment.
“We are stronger than we have been for a long time, particularly at underage where we are fielding a lot of teams competing at the highest level. We have top class facilities thanks to the vision of great club stalwarts and our pitch and grounds are kept in pristine condition by John Maher and the FAS team
“For the juveniles this kind of excitement is absolutely fantastic. It is the first time they will have ever experienced the build up to Waterford playing in an All-Ireland final” he said.
“I will be there if I can get a ticket” said St. Mollerans man Paddy Finucane, better known as the voice of GAA in Tipperary after providing radio commentary for decades on Tipperary hurling and football from Croke Park and from venues all over the county of Tipperary and the country for Tipp FM.
Paddy, a passionate GAA man who has devoted a lifetime to St.Mollerans, is well aware of just how powerful the level of support the people of Carrick Beg have for Waterford and how much All-Ireland glory is coveted in the area.
He was present in Croke Park the last time Waterford claimed the Liam McCarthy in 1959 and remembers well how St.Mollerans colleague Paddy Callaghan lifted him high after the crucial goal of the game was scored by Seamus Power.
“A Waterford win would be great for hurling. Waterford’s place in the sun would be deserved after such a long wait, it would mean so much to the club and the people of Carrick beg.” said Paddy.
The Carrick Beg club was founded in 1942 and operated out of a number of different locations before purchasing their own club ground and opening state of the art facilities in 2009 when Waterford and Cork accepted an invitation to play a match to officially open the grounds at Coolnamuck Road.
Paddy said the purchase of the field, in which Johnny Dowley played a massive role, was a major milestone for the club and the opening of the their own club grounds was one of the biggest occasions in the history of the club.
“It was a dream come true for everybody involved. A lot of people put in a massive amount of work for years to realise the dream and the new generation of officers have carried out tremendous work to develop the grounds and deserve great credit” said Paddy.
Up to that point St. Mollerans players had availed of a number of green spaces such as Seamus Sullivan's field on the old Waterford Road, a pitch at Garavovne, the Furze at Seskin and Sheehans Field.
A hurler of no less the calibre of the late Mick Roche, legendary Tipperary hurler who won three All-Ireland medals, began his hurling career honing his skills in Sheehans Field . and won a county Waterford minor hurling title with the Mollerans in 1959 before moving across the river to play for the Davins.
Paddy said the club was always an ambitious one which was epitomised by the decision at the time in 1970 to send forty club members on a trip to Brian Borus in London.
“Not many clubs were doing that at that time, it was breaking new ground and the club was one of the first to take on that challenge” said Paddy.
The club played in their only Waterford senior hurling final losing out to their neighbours Portlaw in the 1971 final. The previous year St. Mollerans had claimed the Waterford Intermediate championship.
The club took great pride in the fact that in those two successful seasons , 1970 and 1971 the club had the honour of having the Waterford Hurler of the Year. Jimmy Flynn and the late Sean Reade were deservedly named as the best hurlers in the county in those two years and having back to back Hurler of the Year was a tremendous achievement for the club.
Other players such as Billy O'Neill, who captained the Waterford minor hurling team in 1960 and Jerome O'Shea, who was a member of the Waterford team that won the All-Ireland U/21 title in 1992 and Tony Reade, who will always be remembered for his sterling inter county career and his great championship goal against Cork, Michael Gilman and Patsy Murphy , were among those to bring great distinction to St. Mollerans on the field.
Paddy had high praise for people like the late Jimmy Henzy who played a crucial role in the club in the fifties when it was plagued with emigration. The club, he said, was fortunate to have the valuable input of people over the years like the Reade family, the Norris family, Bridget Cleary and her daughter Peggy, Fr.Michael Farrell, Paddy Moore, Billy Deehy, Rory Kiely and many others and it was that dedication and great sense of loyalty that ensured the survival and development of the club.