Friday, February 03, 2023

Déise manager Ephie Fitzgerald will be hoping that his side can bounce back from Sunday’s defeat at home to Carlow. Photo: Philip Cullinane.

Saturday, February 4 at SETU Arena Carriganore at 5pm. Allianz N.F.L. Div. 4 Waterford V Carlow

Having suffered a heavy defeat away to Leitrim on Sunday last Waterford’s hopes of staying in the promotion race look slim enough but will have ended completely if they do not turn things around with a home win over Carlow in Carriganore on Saturday next.
Waterford’s record against their Leinster opponents in recent years has not been too impressive and while Waterford’s current league campaign got off to a disappointing start against Leitrim, Saturday’s opponents will have been happy enough with a draw at home to Wicklow last weekend. Last year’s Division 4 league table, at the end of the full round of fixtures, saw Carlow just one place above Waterford with both sides at the wrong end of the table, on three points to Waterford’s one, the difference being Carlow’s 2-12 to 2-8 win over the Déise side in Dr. Cullen Park in a game that Waterford should have won.
A year earlier the league had been shortened due to the pandemic and Waterford were again beaten by Carlow in Dungarvan, decisively, on a score of 3-16 to 0-10. Bearing those results in mind it is clear that Waterford will have some ground to make up in Carraiganore on Saturday.
The Waterford team that lined out against Leitrim on Sunday last showed no fewer than eight changes from the side that played against Carlow last year. On that basis it would appear that Ephie Fitzgerald and his management team are in the process of building a side from the ground up with promotion not a realistic goal this year. There were some obvious names missing from the line up against Leitrim and whether this was a decision to try out new players or that some have opted out will only become clear when the teams are named for the upcoming games.

Managing the Waterford footballers is a very difficult task given that in many cases some of the best players seen in the club championships are committed to the county hurling team. There is a solid core of good footballers committed to the county cause in such as Brian Looby, Darragh Corcoran, Brian Lynch, Michael Curry, Conor Murray and Dylan Guiry, to name but a few, and the task for management is to bring on young players of the same mind set to back them up.
We can expect a number of changes from the side that lost to Leitrim in the side to face Carlow on Saturday as the process of trying out new faces goes on but the opportunity to pick up home points is there if the defence can seal off the path to goal that has been in evidence in the games to date.

  • The Waterford team has been announced since this preview was penned. The Déise side shows two changes from the team that started against Leitrim. Kevin Sheehan comes in at full-back in place of Barry O’Brien and Dylan Guiry replaces Sean Whelan Barrett in attack.
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