Waterford Co. Board Chairman – Paddy Joe Ryan
These are busy but wonderful times for all involved in Waterford GAA. One man at the eye of the storm, and delighted to be there, is County Board chairman, Paddy Joe Ryan.
“This is my first time as county board chairman when Waterford are in an All-Ireland senior Final and I must say it’s unbelievable. I’d describe the atmosphere throughout the county as one of composed emotion. Expectation is high but I don’t think people are getting carried away. The most important thing is that the players are not wrapped up in the hype and Derek McGrath and his team are doing a great job in keeping them out of all that.”
The last few weeks must have been pretty hectic, especially with people looking for tickets.
“It’s been busy alright but it’s been great. I honestly think that every genuine hurling person who wants a ticket for Sunday’s game will get one. If far bigger counties than us like Cork, Dublin and Tipperary can get sorted for All-Ireland Finals then we should be ok and if you don’t have a ticket yet don’t panic. They start coming back from the other counties towards the end of this week and you’ll find that people have asked so many people for tickets that some people will end up with spares that they will then put back into the county.
“That said don’t be afraid to scour the country for tickets. Try every county you can. We’ve sent tickets all over the world for years and years and now’s it’s our turn to get them back. On the day I think we’ll outshout Galway, like we did Cork and make it a Déise day to remember.”
Paddy Joe, as a proud Fourmilewater man, has seen both sides of the build up to this final. On Sunday his club-mate, Jamie Barron, could well be one of the stars of the day, while another club-mate of theirs, Conor Gleeson will miss the game due to the red card he picked up against Cork.
“It’s a huge disappointment to Conor, his family and the club. He’s a very popular young man in our club and you can sense the doom and gloom around the place. I was up with him at his appeal in Croke Park and he is a very level headed guy and has taken it as good as he could and I’ve no doubt he’ll be back in Croke Park many times in his future career. Then on the other side of it, we’re delighted for Jamie and everyone around here is thrilled for him and there’s a great buzz about the place, even from people who wouldn’t normally be big GAA fans.”
While many people might be surprised at a Waterford Galway final, Paddy Joe saw it coming. “I met a woman the other day and she reminded me that I said in an interview on the paper back in February that Waterford would meet Galway in the All-Ireland Final and that Waterford would win. I’m right so far. Unfortunately I didn’t have a few bob on it. I think it’s an ideal final and neutrals are ecstatic. I think we’ve a brilliant chance and if we do it, the whole country, bar Galway, will be delighted for us. I believe we’re going to do it,” said Paddy Joe.
P.S. I hope you enjoy our bumper 56 page All-Ireland Final Preview supplement in this week’s Waterford News & Star. Thanks to everyone who helped in any way to put it together and hopefully we’ll be bringing you the joyous Waterford scenes from Croke Park in next week’s paper….Déise for Liam.
Waterford GAA County Board Chairman, Paddy Joe Ryan.