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Every Inch Of Waterford Proudly Flying The Flag As The Deise Bid To End All-Ireland Wait

Sep 06, 2017

Every inch of Waterford is proudly flying the flag for its hurlers as The Deise battles to end a 58-year wait for All-Ireland glory.

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And that dream could be just over 48 hours from reality as Derek McGrath’s troops take on Galway at GAA headquarters.

Blue and white bunting lines the streets... and even pets have adopted the county colours.

Some of the staunchest fans are tucked away in a usually quiet cul de sac of Kilcohan Park, but yesterday morning the atmosphere was nearing fever pitch as neighbours ecstatically roared: “Up the Deise!”

They say the All-Ireland final against opponents Galway this Sunday is “the biggest day” and

they’re planning a massive street party win, lose or draw.

Colin O’Sullivan said : “They better give the kids the next day off school, I suppose that’ll be up to the Lord Mayor.”

The local hero is Austin Gleeson, who almost missed the decider after a controversial tug of Luke Meade’s helmet in the semi-final win over Cork.

Colin said: “Austin Gleeson’s father Austin Senior was born and bred just across the way in St John’s Park.

Van with the autographs of the players pictured in Griffith Place, Waterford.

“They say Galway have a lot of tall players, but by God Waterford have the heart and pace.”

The mood is positive going into the game against the Connaught giants.

Christy Gallagher said: “We have to be honest about it, Galway did beat them in the league, but the bookies are giving Waterford at 9/4.

“Sure enough I’ll put a few pound down on them to win.”

He added: “The biggest problem we have here is getting tickets. There’s buses going out of Waterford with people who have no tickets.”

But those who can’t make it to Croker won’t let it dampen their spirits.

Local women Josie Moran, Liz Russell and Catherine O’Mara went door to door collecting E5 from every house to deck out the street.

Josie said: “We scoured the pound shops for all the bunting. It’s the first time that all of the families in the street will come out together.

“I wasn’t alive when they last won and I’ll probably be dead when they next win!”

Mary Kiely spent days hand stitching a blue and white chequered suit and matching fluffy fascinator.

The estate’s oldest fan Dick Kiely, 75, fondly recalls the last time the county won the Liam McCarthy Cup in 1959.

“I remember it well. I remember the homecoming. I was only a young fella at the time.

“All the men wore flat caps in them days and they’d have an overcoat under their arm.

“I remember standing at the steps of the Imperial Hotel, which isn’t even there anymore, it’s now the Tower Hotel.

“If we lose this even the feckin dog won’t talk to me!”

Locals joke that Dick is the “Mayor of Kilcohan”.

One of the youngest residents, little Cameron Flynn, gazes up at his neighbour with a tiny hurley and tennis ball as Dick gladly shows him how it’s done.

But kids aren’t the only ones getting in on the action.

In Griffith Place, rescue dog Lucy is kitted out in her very own Deise jersey.

Hurling mad Ger Power’s van has been painted from top to bottom in the county colours with all of the players’ autographs along either side.

Everywhere you go the same mantra is repeated, the county’s progression to the final has brought an up-beat vibe to the city and county.

A cheeky banner draped across the train station reads: “Waterford for the All Ireland, Galway for the Races.”

The Bishop’s Palace in the city is one of Waterford’s treasures, but the Georgian stonework has acquired a modern look with blue and white draped across the front.

And the Devonshire Bridge in Dungarvan is glowing every evening as blue lights reflect across the water.

Now everyone is hoping to banish the blues...and hope it’ll be all white by Sunday night.