Tipperary v Waterford, Sunday. 2pm, Semple Stadium
This is a big game for Waterford in terms of the championship, a loss here would almost certainly put them on the back foot going into games against Limerick and Cork. On the other hand, I was very impressed with the way Tipperary performed against Cork, some of the big players really shone for them which is what Tipperary supporters want to see.
We begin with Tipperary. They racked up a huge score against Cork 2-28 in fact, the majority of the scores came from play. Tipperary had a poor enough league by the high standards they set themselves so they probably wanted to lay down a marker to show other teams they are not gone away. They have been talked as general All-Ireland contenders after that win over Cork, but it is far too early to say, given the amount of twist and turns that can happen in the Munster Hurling Championship.
Pauric Fanning’s Waterford pushed Clare all the way. The goal the Banner scored was obviously what the difference was, the saying goals win games is certainly a phrase that can be used. They clawed their way back into the game in the final 10 minutes and only lost by one, in the end, they could have nicked a draw but Clare were better on the day and deserved the win. A loss here would mean they would have to probably beat Cork and Limerick in their final to games to have any chance of getting out of Munster even with a quarter-final place. Waterford can deliver a massive performance, they love playing in Thurles and I expect them to push the Premier men all the way.
Tipperary will once again look to players like Cathal Barrett, Brendan Maher, Padraic and Ronan Maher in defence, while in attack Seamus Callanan, John McGrath and John O’Dwyer will all once again be the key men for them. Waterford will look to Kevin Moran, Conor Prunty and Philip Mahony in defence for leadership, while Jamie Barron will look for a good performance having been taken off against Clare. In attack Austin Gleeson, Stephen Bennett and Pauric Mahony will need to have big games if the Deise are to come out on top.
Waterford are looking for a win over Tipperary for the first time since 2008 in the Munster Championship. Tipperary has won six times and drawn once since then with the Deise.
Last 5 Championship Meetings
2018 Waterford 2-22 Tipperary 2-22 (Munster round robin)
2016 Tipperary 5-19 Waterford 0-13 (Munster final)
2015 Tipperary 0-21 Waterford 0-16 (Munster final)
2012 Tipperary 2-17 Waterford 0-16 (Munster final)
2011 Tipperary 7-19 Waterford 0-19 (Munster final)
Tipperary (Munster SHC v Waterford): Brian Hogan; Cathal Barrett, James Barry, Ronan Maher; Brendan Maher, Padraic Maher, Alan Flynn; Noel McGrath, Michael Breen; Jason Forde, Patrick Maher, Niall O’Meara; John O’Dwyer, Seamus Callanan, John McGrath.
Waterford (Munster SHC v Tipperary) : Stephen O’Keeffe, Calum Lyons, Conor Prunty, Noel Connors, Phil Mahony, Tadgh De Burca, Kevin Moran, Jamie Barron, Conor Gleeson, Thomas Ryan, Austin Gleeson, Pauric Mahony, Jack Prendergast, Patrick Curran, Stephen Bennett.
Tipperary are 2/5 to win, while Waterford are outsiders at 5/2. The draw is 10 which can’t be ruled out. John McGrath at 13/8 looks a good bet to score a goal anytime. The handicap betting has Tipperary at -4 at 11/10 I would recommend this also.