Eoin Kelly: You can’t be sentimental in this Championship

The legendary former Tipperary forward looks ahead to his county’s huge clash with Waterford and runs the rule over the form of Jason Forde…


First and foremost, Tipperary have to win the game against Waterford.

Whereas, Derek McGrath can build a siege mentality with The Déise and say to his players, ‘everyone is writing us off’, with all their injuries worries.

He’ll still have 26 or 28 players heading down to the Gaelic Grounds on the bus and they’ve been boosted by the returns of Auston Gleeson and Pauric Mahony. Tipp will have some of their confidence back now after the second half against Cork, just maybe not all of it.

But, if they could get a good performance they could return to top form and claw back the -6 points difference they have at the minute. If they do get a chance to pile on the scores, then they have to go for it.

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Game management will be a big thing for Waterford come Sunday, they’ll want to slow the match down and try to dictate the pace. However, some of the big names that they are missing is just too much for any top team to cope with.

I do feel for Waterford in that regard, because I admire Derek McGrath. McGrath is intuitive and he has brought his own style to the game.

However, you can’t be sentimental in this Championship. Clare certainly didn’t let up against Waterford last weekend.

It would be Derek McGrath’s greatest win as Waterford manager if they do beat Tipp though. Even with the injuries they’ll make it hard for Tipperary.

There’s going to be a stage in the game where Tipp will get an advantage, and they’ll have to put it on the board when they get the chance.

Magical McGrath

I’ve been a fan of Derek McGrath all the way back to his De La Salle days. He’s a hurling man and he took Waterford so close to the All-Ireland last year.

He looks at what he has in a panel and thinks outside the box with how best to use them.

Unfortunately, he has had too many obstacles put in his way this year to really compete, like all the injuries and the lack of home advantage.

If he is to bow out this year – which has been rumoured – they’d have been relegated in the National League and Waterford may not win a Munster Championship match.

I’m not writing his obituary or any anything like that, but I’d really hate if it ended like this for him because of how much I like him as a manager.

Forde on the road to stardom

Jason Forde didn’t miss any dead balls last Sunday. With the spit of rain that was there and the situation Tipperary were in, they needed to be nailed and he did it.

Forde is now showing the form that Lar Corbett did 09, 10 and 11 and Seamus Callanan was in 14, 15 and 16.

His first half goal was brilliant, he beat Anthony Nash on the keeper’s good side with the sheer pace on the shot.

He just has that skill in his wrists.

Format is in need of tweaking, but it’s far from a ‘disaster’

The Waterford chairman Paddy Joe Ryan branded the new Hurling Championship format a ‘disaster’ earlier in the week.

If you were a Cork, Tipperary or any other supporter today and you were down six or seven of your best players, playing against a big team on Sunday, you’d probably say the same thing.

With the way its fallen with either four games in-a-row or four in five weeks, other teams could well be in Waterford’s shoes next season (even if they’ve only played one game).

The Déise are just unlucky and you’d be gutted if it happened to your team.

I wouldn’t call the format a ‘disaster’. There’s no time for recovery in it though, and I’d like two weeks between games to give teams time to recoup.

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What do you think?