Waterford v Clare, Saturday, 3pm, Walsh Park
This is a massive game both sides in my opinion. They will each want to lay down a marker for their championship meeting in a few weeks time and I expect sparks to fly here.
Waterford with home advantage here will be tough to beat considering their form at home in the league to date. Pauric Fanning’s men finished second in Division 1b behind Dublin. They played 5 games , winning 4 and losing 1. The wins came against Carlow, Laois, Offaly and then last weekend against Galway after a superb comeback. A repeat performance here will be expected yet again.
Clare have had a had two week to fine tune things. They would have also probably got a look at the Waterford game last weekend which is an advantage to them. I expect them to be at full throttle here with some big performances. They finished 3rd in Division 1A, winning 2 games, drawing one and losing two, the wins coming against Kilkenny and Wexford, losses came to Cork and Tipperary, while they drew with Limerick.
Looking at what teams to expect to be out Waterford will probably go with a similar 15 that started against Galway. Noel Connors and Philip Mahony will need to be at their best in defence, while all-star Jamie Barron will be expected to have another big game in midfield. In attack then players like Michael Walsh, Pauric Mahony and the Bennett brothers will once again have to put in big performances. Clare will look to players like Jack Browne, Conor Cleary, Pat O’Connor, while Colm Galvin will be expected to excel in midfield once again. Tony Kelly, Diarmuid Ryan, John Conlon and Peter Duggan will be expected to come up with the goods in attack.
A 50-50 game according to the bookies as both sides are even money and the draw is 8/1. Shane Bennett to score a goal anytime is 21/10.