Hurling

Delightful Deise to progress in South East derby

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Wexford v Waterford, Sunday, 4pm, Pairc Ui Chaoimh

A meeting of the south east rivals in Cork is an unlikely venue, with many people saying why the GAA didn’t fix the game for Thurles or Nowlan Park as there will be countless traffic problems going to the venue on Sunday. However, it’s all about who will win the game on Sunday and Davy Fitzgerald and Wexford will fancy their chances against 1/3 favourites Waterford.

Wexford for their part have a had a superb season so far. They gained promotion to Division 1A for next season, reached a league quarter final, beat Kilkenny twice and reached a Leinster Final. Not a bad first year for Davy Fitzgerald and his backroom team! They stuck with Galway all the way but ultimately Galway were far too physical, powerful and clever for them as they ran out easy winners in the end. With south east derbies they are normally close and little to separate the sides. In fact, the last time these sides met Wexford won in Nowlan Park.

Waterford and Derek McGrath will be coming into this game high on confidence having beaten Kilkenny for the first time in the championship since 1959, now that they have that monkey off the back we might see Waterford flourish. Tadgh De Burca is a key man for them and his man of the match display against Kilkenny proved this. They will also be able to call on hurler of the year Austin Gleeson and midfielder and 2016 all-star Jamie Barron. It will be key to see if Waterford adopt the sweeper system again, as Wexford will surely adopt one with Shaun Murphy again playing the role.

Wexford will want big games from Lee Chin, Conor McDonald and Paul Morris, while Matthew O’Hanlon and Liam Ryan will also need big games if Wexford are to progress to a potential semi-final with Cork.

In terms of calling the game it is hard to look past Waterford but if there is going to be an upset this weekend this will be it. Waterford are priced as 1/3 favourites and Wexford are 3/1. My heart will say Wexford, but I think Waterford are a few steps ahead of them and they should come out on top by three or four points.

Verdict: Waterford

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