Questions linger for final hurling clash

In Saturday’s Irish Examiner, Michael Moynihan posed three key questions ahead of second All-Ireland semi-final. So how about some answers?

Will Waterford play a sweeper?

As suggested last week, Waterford stationed a man between the 20 and 45 metre lines yesterday - Darragh Fives was very good for the Déise in the Tadhg de Burca role, given the absence through suspension of the latter (Cork also deployed a spare man at the back, Mark Ellis).

Both teams’ formations loosened up considerably when Damien Cahalane was sent off in the second half, with Waterford pouring through the lines as Cork sought to reorganise and hitting 3-8 in a rampaging final quarter.

Because of the Cahalane red card, however, it’s unclear how Waterford might have finished the game if it had remained 15-on-15. Which means the question arises again for the All-Ireland final.

Would Cork be rusty after five weeks off?

Much like Galway last weekend, Cork took some time to get the pitch of the game but the sides were level at the end of the first quarter, 0-6 to 1-3. An argument could be made that rust was to blame for the game’s opening goal, with Mark Coleman drifting off Michael Brick Walsh, but that would be to undersell the Waterford man’s cuteness.

As with question no. 1, the first red card for Cork renders much of the debate regarding the second half moot.

Cork looked to be getting their scores slightly easier, perhaps, than Waterford after half-time, but when reduced to 14 men they were never going to win.

Can either team beat
Galway?

A question as interesting now as it was last week.

Waterford go into the final on the back of four goals and an endorsement of their playing system, as if one were needed.

Though most of the Galway players have played in three All-Ireland finals, Waterford have survivors from 2008 in Brick Walsh and Kevin Moran, while many of their newer players have won All-Ireland medals in Croke Park, albeit at minor level.

However, the question mark hanging over the participation of either or both of the Waterford Gleesons won’t help the Déise cause. They survived the potential distraction of the Tadhg de Búrca appeals saga: will there be another?


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