Wexford 1-18 -
Waterford’s Tommy Prendergast celebrates after the game with his son Tom in Wexford Park. Photo: Inpho/Bryan Keane.
All-Ireland SFC Qualifier: Waterford v Wexford
A shirtless Tommy Prendergast was the last Déise player to leave the pitch on this sun splashed Saturday afternoon. And with good reason. After serving the county for nine years, this was only his second championship win on the field of play.
“It’s absolutely brilliant. My first year on the panel in 2010 was the only the championship game I had won (Clare). I was injured for the London one. It’s great. Everyone here deserves this and we’ll celebrate it tonight!”
The big midfielder wondered recently about whether this day would ever come. “I was at a wedding two months ago (he’s getting married himself in a couple of weeks) and I was with a few of the lads back from when we got promoted. A lot of the talk was ‘what about the games we nearly won’. It was always nearly. At least now it’s good to get that one and we can talk about the one we did win.”
The Kilrossanty man had the game of his life, continuously ripping through the purple and gold defence. He was involved in two of the three goals, barged through the Wexford barricade for a first half point and won three close range frees for Jason Curry to convert. An energy sapping effort was required from everyone to get over the line. “We did a hell of a lot of running. Fair dues to Gerry Fitzpatrick and Peter Kirwan. All those hill runs counted in the end. Today is another level with the heat out here. You’re not kicking too many balls, you’re running off shoulders. It’s just crazy. In the last five minutes, I thought the legs were gone. The calves were cramping. We just pulled through.”
The six minutes of injury time seemed like an eternity as Wexford closed the gap from eight points to two. Too close for comfort. “We really let them back into it because we had great chances to go further ahead. Maybe we should have tapped them over the bar instead of going for goals. We had the bodies back and we had a good lead. I was fairly happy that we would see it out.”
He hopes that this result will have long lasting benefits. “All we’re trying to do here is keep the thing alive. Hopefully this will bring a bit of interest and get a few more boys on the panel next year.”