"If we'd won, I don't know would any of us have been back," joked Kevin Moran while speaking to the media this week. Waterford's All-Ireland hurling final defeat to Galway a little over a fortnight earlier was still a raw subject for the Deise captain. He still hasn't watched TV coverage of the final. Odds are, he ever will.
To his credit, Moran found humour in the circumstances. He quipped that he'd "seen him naked enough times now" when asked if there was a modicum of relief for the people of Waterford that they were not subjected to a naked John Mullane riding on horseback down the city's quays. Mullane had promised to do so if Waterford had won their first All-Ireland in 58 years. The horse had been all but bridled for the commitment too.
Moran, a nominee for Hurler of the Year, works at De La Salle College - the same school as Waterford manager Derek McGrath. Despite the close proximity, Moran says the subject of defeat to Galway is not touched. They talk about hurling, just not that game.
I've seen him out and about in school and being straight up, I wouldn’t talk to him about it. Everyone wants their space. We would talk about everything else; hurling generally, the club, things like that. I’m sure he’s the same as we all are, if not more so. It’s very raw for him I’m sure. We just have to give him time and space to clear his head.
I wouldn't see him too much. There's 1,200 boys in the school. You're doing your own thing and you're busy enough in there. If you're not in class, you're out getting a bit of lunch.
The 30-year-old genuinely doesn't know if McGrath will return to the role next season. It's not a question he's trying to dodge, he just doesn't know. Though, he does hope McGrath will be back as Waterford boss.
"He's still disappointed. I think he's looking forward to taking a bit of downtime with the family. He's back in work and back to normality. Leave him to himself for a few weeks and I'm not going to be annoying him or hassling him with silly questions."
Though there's still tenderness over the loss to Joe Canning and Co., there's also pride. This year's loss contrasts markedly to the last time Waterford were in an All-Ireland final - the 2008 decider against Kilkenny.
That day, Waterford left Croke Park crushed, humiliated. It was a defeat 20 points larger than the one suffered against Galway.
It’s completely different, 2008 was embarrassing to be straight up about it. Your head was down. It was the worst six weeks ever, to be honest with you. I think there’s a lot more positives now.
This time around, even though the result was the same, I think there’s a lot more pride associated with the team. There’s a good feeling there, collectively, that the county and everyone has rowed in behind the team which can only be a positive thing going forward over the next few years.
Waterford, down but not out, will be back again.
PwC's sponsorship of the PwC All-Stars was celebrated with an event at Croke Park. Uachtarán Chumann Lúthcleas Gael Aogán Ó Fearghail, GPA Chief Executive Dermot Earley and Feargal O'Rourke, Managing Partner, PwC were joined by Galway's All Ireland winning hurling captain David Burke, Waterford hurling captain Kevin Moran and Kerry footballer Paul Geaney at the event. Pictured is Kevin Moran of Waterford in attendance during the PwC All-Stars hurling nominations at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile