Declan Prendergast of Ardmore and Garrett Foley of St. Mogues of Fethard in attendance during the AIB All Ireland Junior and Intermediate Club Football and Hurling Championship Finals 2018 media day at Croke Park yesterday (Monday). Photo: Sportsfile.
Declan Prendergast felt his days at Croke Park were numbered.
The Ardmore warrior walked off the hallowed turf on August 7, 2011, in a state of anguish after a six-point loss to Kilkenny in an All-Ireland semi-final.
With his 37th birthday fast approaching, Prendergast can’t but use the word “dream” when describing the feeling of facing into a junior AIB All-Ireland final clash with Fethard St Mogues this Sunday.
The defender won three provincial medals and a league title during his Waterford career, but never did he expect that this club run could return not only county and provincial medals, but a shot at the ultimate honour. Now he hopes to be the first Waterford man to captain a Déise club side to All-Ireland glory.
“Look it’s a dream come true,” says Prendergast at the AIB All-Ireland club finals media day. “You never think of your own club getting to Croke Park and this is a serious dream, being honest with you, to go to an All-Ireland.
“(My brother Seamus is) 38 years old now, and I’m 37 in a couple of weeks. To get to Croke Park at that age is great adventure really. We’re delighted. We’re playing for Ardmore since we were minor so we are probably at this 20 years now.
“2011 I think when we lost to Kilkenny,” he says of his most recent Croker outing. “I thought it’d be my last day here, so this is great. I brought the two kids up with me today and the wife, so it’s great for them to see that.
“Just to see what’s underneath the stand, because you’d never really get to see those things when you’re not playing. The kids are seven and three so they love all this.”
The main man on the Fethard team is Wexford county panellist, Garrett Foley. He’s been setting the junior championship alight, and no doubt Ardmore will hope to tie him down. At the AIB club launch, the two men got acquainted, and bonded over experiences with Prendergast’s former Déise boss.
“Yeah, I was just talking to him there and he said he’s on the county panel with Davy (Fitzgerald). We know plenty about Davy down in Waterford. I played with him while he was down there and I found him a very good trainer yeah. You can only listen to him for so long,” he laughs.” but his drills were good.”
This Sunday, though, it’s all about parish pride and a battle of two club sides who know very little about each other.
“To win a Munster final with your club was a big thing. Croke Park on Sunday will have to be one of the biggest games ever. Because the club has never seen this and this is a real adventure for the club. So to get to Croke Park even…
“We don’t know a whole lot about them and it’s only since Sunday that we’ve been hearing different things about them. They’re going to be good, they wouldn’t be there unless they were good.”
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