Northern Ireland news

Queen's virologist Ultan Power to indulge other passion of Waterford hurling this weekend

Professor Ultan Power. Picture by Andrew Towe
Marie Louise McConville

AN internationally respected virologist based at Queen's University will indulge his other passion this weekend when his beloved Waterford hurling team play in the Munster final.

Ultan Power, who is Professor of Molecular Virology at the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine, lives just outside Belfast but hails originally from Waterford.

Having spent the last eight months devoting himself to vital research in the fight against Covid-19, as well as providing expert analysis to the media, he will take a few hours out on Sunday to watch the Déise hurlers take on Limerick.

It is now more than six decades since Waterford won an All-Ireland championship and fans are hoping this might finally be their year.

Prof Power said in normal circumstances he would be at the match but given Covid restrictions, he hopes to be able to watch it at home on TV.

"It will be really interesting to see how it will work out," he said.

"I would not be overly optimistic for Waterford. Limerick are so strong this year. They are really hurling very, very well indeed.

"I was quite impressed at the way Waterford played against Cork in the semi-final and I thought they looked very fit but Limerick appear to be at a level above everyone."

Prof Power said if Waterford do find a way to progress on Sunday, the city will "take it in our stride".

"It is going to be difficult," he said.

"All of these guys are amateurs. They have full time jobs and then the other big issue is Covid.

"If they test positive and they can't play, that could knock out a lot of people.

"It is going to be really precarious, trying to make sure as many of them end up on the pitch."

He added: "If it was normal circumstances and if I was available, I would actually go to the match. It is always exciting.

"The atmosphere at the matches is just fantastic, irrespective of the team you are supporting. Everyone is there for the occasion."

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