Prodigal son comes home to make Waterford contenders again 2 days ago

Prodigal son comes home to make Waterford contenders again

Waterford 3-27 Clare 3-18

He turned on the style for Ballygunner and he's turned Waterford into contenders again.

The prodigal son came home just over a year ago and in Waterford they rejoiced. This lad will make the difference, they said. This lad is something special.

They hadn't much to go on but they'd seen enough to believe. In fact, you could have accused them of jumping the gun a little bit, as they placed all their faith in a player who'd left the country before his 18th birthday.

But the glimpses of a prodigious juvenile stayed with them and the stories of a gifted sportsman made them dream. All eager and enthusiastic, Dessie landed back in Ballygunner and he made bits of the hype as he dazzled his way through the Waterford championship with Ballygunner. Fuel to the fire.

Fairytales like this one don't usually work out but there was something different about Hutchinson's. Though he'd left Ballygunner to play soccer for Ireland and then for Brighton, hurling was always his number one. Not a day went by that he didn't miss it. Becoming a professional sportsman was obviously a chance he couldn't pass up but watching Ballygunner and Waterford win from afar wasn't an easy task.

"I always had the hurl with me in Brighton and any time I came home, it was the first thing I'd go to," he said in a GAA Hour interview. Hutchinson meant business.

The 2019 Munster Championship came too soon but the bit of time would do no harm. Ballygunner beat all around them the following season and Hutchinson was getting even better.

The 2020 Championship finally came around and in his first two games against Cork and Limerick respectively, Hutchinson showed glimpses without exploding. Against Clare, he blew up and showed Waterford all they'd been missing.

Waterford Journalist Tomás McCarthy had the stat that in six first half possessions, Hutchinson had scored 2-1 and set up another goal. Clare responded admirably to the first two goals as Aron Shanagher - another brilliant forward who's had an injury stunted career - matched Hutchinson genius for genius, but the third goal was a game-breaker.

It was Hutchinson at his brilliant, audacious best. Time stood still as he defied four Clare defenders to set the table for Jack Fagan to finish. Clare heads dropped and the Déise were dancing.

All through the Derek McGrath years, Waterford were a formidable team but they lacked that bit of dynamism up front. Hutchinson is the clever corner forward who can score out of nothing and will rarely lose the ball.

In the second half, he continued to conduct Liam Cahill's orchestra. The damage however, had been done. Brian Cody this time, will have some food for thought.