Friday, July 09, 2021

Michael Kiely was the star of the show for the Déise in their heroic battle with Tipperary in Fraher Field back in December. He will be key to Waterford’s chances of a Thurles win on Monday night. Photos: Inpho.

Monday, July 12 – Semple Stadium Munster U-20 H.C. Tipperary V Waterford 8.05 p.m. Ref. Nathan Wall (Cork).

With most Munster underage championship clashes traditionally taking place in midweek Waterford’s eagerly awaited U-20 clash with Tipperary is down for decision on Monday next in Semple Stadium with the throw in at the unusual time of 8.05 p.m. The date and time is to facilitate the live screening of the game on TG4.
The two counties met in this championship last December, producing a thriller in Fraher Field that saw Waterford leading the favourites up to the closing minutes of normal time when a glut of injuries forced crucial changes that resulted in Tipperary drawing level at the death and going on to score 5-18 to 3-16 victory that had not looked likely in normal time.

From playing in the depths of Winter the conditions in Semple Stadium on Monday next can be expected to be very different and Waterford, under the same management, have been looking forward to the opportunity to reverse that result of last year. There is no back door for the losers of this game so both teams will be flat out for victory knowing that defeat will mean all the hard work going into this game will be for nought.
When many of these players on both sides met in the corresponding minor championship year Waterford, deprived of home advantage, scored a dramatic one point win in Limerick on a score of 2-13 to 3-9 and subsequently beat Limerick at the same venue, though, in the end it was Tipperary and Limerick who advanced to the minor final with Tipperary winning out.
Waterford will go into this game with ten of the fifteen that started last year’s clash and some seventeen or eighteen players over all from that panel available for selection. Tipperary, on the other hand, who subsequently lost narrowly to Cork in the final, will have seven of last year’s starting fifteen on board including goalkeeper Aaron Browne and top scorer Devon Ryan.
Waterford have been working very hard preparing for this game and in recent challenge games came out on top against Wexford, Killkenny and Dublin.

Waterford U-20 manager, Stephen Gough.

Competition for places is very hot within the panel and very much up for grabs. No one is assured of a place in the starting line up though it would be expected that Tallow’s Dean Beecher will start in goal with Tourin’s Gavin Fives at centre back. Last year’s midfield pairing of Paddy Leavy and Cian Wadding look likely to be retained while in attack Michael Kiely will be the main man. Others in contention who started and had game time in last year’s clash include Sam Fitzgerald (Clashmore), Rory Furlong (Roanmore), James Power (Clonea), Kevin Mahony (Ballygunner), Rueben Halloran (De La Salle), Johnny Burke (Dungarvan) and P. J. Fanning (Mount Sion).
It is interesting to note that had Kiely been introduced against Clare by Liam Cahill he would have been ruled out of this game under a ridiculous rule that prevents a player playing senior championship hurling from playing underage until his senior team is out of the championship. Last weekend we saw Mark Rodgers of Clare and Shane Barrett of Cork ruled out of their U-20 sides as Clare play Kerry on Monday next and Cork await the winners of the Waterford/Tipperary clash on Tuesday 20th July. It will be noted that should Waterford win on Monday next the clash with Cork will be in Walsh Park.
A number of younger players such as Mark Fitzgerald (Passage) and Joe Booth (Colligan) have forced their way into contention for places in the starting line up as has Ballyduff Upper’s talented young forward Tyrone O’Flynn.
It promises to be a stirring contest in Semple Stadium as Waterford seek a first victory over the home side in Thurles in this grade since the U-21 win in 2000. Again it is not clear as to how many will be allowed to attend. An announcement is expected to be made during the week.

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By Phil Fanning
Contact Newsdesk: 051 874951

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