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If you judge a team on their last performance, Waterford were excellent against Tipperary in their final National League game. They clocked up a big score, looked threatening, were really energetic during the game and moved the ball fast through the lines. They also seem to have goals on their mind now, and these are all good things heading into a big Munster Championship clash.
On the flip side, they appear to have a few injury concerns ahead of this game with Clare. We know already that they’re without the services of Tadhg de Búrca and Pauric Mahony, but there is talk in the county that Conor Prunty and Jamie Barron could possibly miss out too.
However, when The Déise were without Barron and Prunty against Tipp they were able to bring in lads from the bench and they did a very good job in their absence. Waterford have a bit more of a panel these days and they might just be the third best team in the country behind Limerick and Galway, when they have all their cards available to them.
Sunday 15:30 – Waterford v Clare
All that will tell you the kind of task Brian Lohan and his Clare team are facing on Sunday at Semple Stadium. The Banner will also be down a few bodies. Aaron Fitzgerald is out and so is Shane O’Donnell, who is going to be a huge loss for Clare on the day. They are also sweating on the availability of David McInerney too.
This match will swing on how Waterford go about dampening the influence of Tony Kelly. We’ve seen during the League that Kelly is in a rich vein of form and he’s probably the most in-song player in the whole country at the present time, so Liam Cahill will have to do something to slow him down.
Waterford will be looking to Dessie Hutchinson to do damage for them, he’s a really top-class player and he can hurt you in the inside back line. We have a mouthwatering game in prospect, but I just feel Waterford have a few more aces up their sleeve to win this.
Clare have enough in them to give Waterford a scare early doors in this match, but The Déise should have enough firepower in attack to see them off in the end. I always try to be as honest as I can when making my selections, and I try to not let the heart rule the head. If you read my columns on a regular basis, you’ll know I do tip against Waterford from time-to-time.
But, I believe The Déise will win this Munster quarter final and they can get it done by a margin of three to four points. It will be tight at times, but I fancy Cahill’s charges to kick on down the home straight of the match and see off the (-2) handicap.
The usual names will pop up when you talk about the goalscorer markets. Aron Shanagher scored two goals against Waterford in last year’s All-Ireland quarter final for Clare, he’s always a threat given his aerial prowess. On the Waterford side, Dessie Hutchinson crops up as he’s just different gravy with how he’s playing at the moment.
But, I really, really like Shane Bennett to score anytime goal. He thinks about going for goals all the time and he scores them regularly. Bennett to net an anytime goal is my NAP for this entire game.
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