SHC previews: Deise men join the party

16 June 2017

Waterford are the last into the 2017 All-Ireland senior hurling championship... The Deise will return to action after an 11-week break when they face Cork in the Munster SHC semi-final at Semple Stadium, Thurles on Sunday.

Here are our previews for the two senior hurling championship clashes taking place in Leinster and Munster on Sunday.

 

Sunday, June 18th

Leinster SHC semi-final

Galway v Offaly, O'Moore Park, 2pm

Offaly head for Portlaoise on Sunday looking to conquer All-Ireland favourites Galway in the championship for the first time since their 1994 semi-final win over the Tribesmen.

Things are much different now to the days of Eamonn Cregan’s reign with the Faithful County and they head into this weekend’s last four clash in Leinster as massive underdogs at 14/1.

Last month’s provincial quarter-final against Westmeath saw Shane Dooley’s superb 3-8 contribution more than enough for Kevin Ryan’s side to advance past Westmeath and they’ll need their Tullamore dual star sharp from the very start to try and keep things tight against the men from the west.

Galway won last summer’s meeting between the two counties on the same stage by no less than 10 points and many neutrals are anticipating a similar outcome here, with danger forwards Joe Canning, Conor Cooney and Conor Whelan so prominent for them the last day against Dublin.

The winners here take on Wexford in the Leinster final on July 2nd and, in truth, it’s hard to envision anything but a comfortable win for Micheál Donoghue’s charges at O’Moore Park on Sunday.

Verdict: Galway

Munster SHC semi-final

Cork v Waterford, Semple Stadium, 4pm – RTE

Cork forward Alan Cadogan has said that Waterford will “pose a completely different challenge to Tipperary” but it should still be one hell of a battle when the two sides meet in Thurles this weekend.

These two counties have met on no fewer than 16 occasions in the championship since 1999 (Cork have won seven times, Waterford six and three ended in draws) and the general feeling is that there won’t be much to separate them when all’s said and done at Semple Stadium on Sunday.

Cork’s last visit to the home of hurling saw them stun the All-Ireland champions on their home turf, with Conor Lehane (0-10) and Shane Kingston (1-4) making significant contributions in the huge upset. Meanwhile, Derek McGrath’s Waterford side finally enter the championship fray for the first time since their Allianz League quarter-final defeat to Galway back on the first Sunday in April.

The Leesiders defeated the Deise men by 1-21 to 1-13 in this year’s league clash at Walsh Park, where Lehane was again prominent for the winners, but in Austin Gleeson their opponents possess one of the best hurlers in the country and many Waterford fans and neutrals alike will be delighted to see the Mount Sion star back on display for the summer.

Waterford are chasing their third consecutive Munster final appearance, while a win on Sunday would see Cork through to their first provincial decider since 2014.

Verdict: Waterford