STIFF REBEL TEST AWAITS THE DEISE

Munster Under-21 Football Championship Semi-Final
(Waterford v Kerry, Wednesday, 7.30pm, Fraher Field)

Dermot Keyes reports

Waterford face a major test in Fraher Field tomorrow (Wednesday) night when they take on Cork in the EirGrid-sponsored Munster Under-21 Semi-Final.
Cork come into the match in the wake of an impressive 0-23 to 0-8 dismissal of Clare at Cooraclare, and given the ease at which Clare beat Waterford at the same stage last year, there may be some trepidation about this fixture may play out.
However, that nightmare in Miltown Malbay is firmly in the past, and given how well this group of players fared when they lined out as minors three years ago, when running Kerry far closer than a seven-point defeat might otherwise suggest, they do not go into this contest without some hope.

Conor Prunty in minor football action against Tipperary last summer. The Ballinacourty man will spearhead Waterford's challenge in tomorrow night's Munster Under-21 semi-final.  				| Photo: Noel Browne

Conor Prunty in minor football action against Tipperary last summer. The Ballinacourty man will spearhead Waterford's challenge in tomorrow night's Munster Under-21 semi-final. | Photo: Noel Browne

The Deisemen have several well-known names they can call upon for the meeting, including Dermot Ryan (Nire), Willie Hahessy (Rathgormack), Jack Mullaney (Stradbally), Conor Prunty (Ballinacourty), Modeligo’s Tom Devine, as well as Rathgormack pair Jason Curry and Conor Murray. This is not a side short on talent, and should they click into gear, they certainly possess the wherewithal to make things difficult for Cork, who were tested for 40 of the 60 minutes against the Banner, having led by 0-10 to 0-5 at the break.
Cork will look to attacker Peter Kelleher to build on the performances he has produced for the senior Rebels in the National League to date, while Waterford will be mindful that eight of Cork’s points against Clare came from frees, scored by Sean O’Donoghue, Brian Coakley and Stephen Sherlock.
Waterford’s initial objective will be to be in touch of Cork by the half-time break. If Murray and Devine can be fed a decent supply of ball, goals will have to be high on the Deise’s agenda. While Cork will be favourites of course, there’s no reason why Waterford can’t give their illustrious neighbours a decent rattle. Let’s hope for a good turnout on the night from Deise fans.
Waterford: Kevin Dwane (Ballinacourty); Ciarán O’Neill (Brickey Rangers), Stephen Dalton (De La Salle), Dermot Ryan (The Nire); William Hahessy (Rathgormack), Aidan Dwyer (Geraldines), Jack Mullaney (Stradbally); David Gartland (Ardmore), Conor Prunty (Ballinacourty); Liam Mulligan (Rathgormack), Eoin O’Brien (Stradbally), Jason Curry (Rathgormack); Conor Murray (Rathgormack), Tom Devine (Modeligo), Fearghal Ó Cuirrín (An Rinn).

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