Waterford facing an uphill battle

Ryan Donnelly, in action for the Deise's senior hurlers, is eligible for tomorrow night's Under-21 Munster Football Championship clash with Tipperary at Fraher Field.	 								| Photo: Noel Browne

Ryan Donnelly, in action for the Deise's senior hurlers, is eligible for tomorrow night's Under-21 Munster Football Championship clash with Tipperary at Fraher Field. | Photo: Noel Browne

Waterford’s Under-21 footballers face a difficult task on Wednesday evening at Fraher Field where they take on Tipperary in the First Round of this year’s Championship.

Three years ago, Tipperary won their first Munster Minor Football Final in sixteen years having lost three of the previous final deciders.

It fair to say that the majority of the Tipperary panel will be the same this year as which won that final.

That will mean the likes of Conor O’Sullivan, Colin O’Riordan, Stephen O’Brien, Ian Fahey, Philip Quirke, Greg Henry, Michael Quinlivan, Liam McGrath and TJ Ryan could well feature for the Premier, with some of these players now established members of their senior panel.

Waterford’s preparation going into this game is far from ideal.

Manager Jimmy Healy was only appointed in recent weeks and since then he had the amount of time he had available to him restricted somewhat with the opening round of games in the Under-21 club championships going ahead, meaning that players were either training or playing with their club.

The naming of some football selectors very close to Championship time has become a bit of a norm in recent years, and really is something that shouldn’t be tolerated.

Some will argue that the taking part will help the players develop. Some will also argue that the money being spent on the team each year, despite being small, could be better spent elsewhere by not entering a team, as poorly prepared teams suffering heavy defeats as Waterford have in recent years can be very demoralising.

Three years ago, when this Waterford team were playing at minor level, the likes of Conor Mulcahy, Ray Ó Ceallaigh, Lorcan Ó Corraoin, David Hallinan, Emmett O’Toole, Gavin Nugent, Eamon Power, Michael Kiely, Tadhg Bourke and Ryan Donnelly were amongst the panel.

Alas, it remains to be seen how many of these are available for selection on Wednesday night.

Waterford have a very professional management team in place to oversee the under 21 team this year and they will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to secure a victory, but it’s hard to see them getting anything from this particular game.

Thomas Keane

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