Waterford welcome deferment, but defend delayed completion of games

WATERFORD County Board yesterday welcomed the Munster Council’s decision to defer the club championship semi-final between Patrickswell and their county champions, who will be decided in a replay on Saturday.

However, the board also defended the lateness of their championship, an issue which had evoked the ire of the Munster Council.

“We are very pleased with the way the Munster council has allowed the Munster semi-final to be put back,” Waterford chairman Paddy Joe Ryan said.

Mount Sion and Ballygunner played out an exciting draw last week, and although Munster Council chairman Christy Cooney was critical of Waterford’s failure to complete their county championships in time, he agreed numerous factors were at work. “In the nine years of the county chairman, we have always tried to play our county finals the week after the All-Ireland final. That couldn’t happen this year because of a variety of reasons,” Ryan said.

Those reasons included the desire of county players to give their undivided attention to the county team; the postponement three times of a Munster U21 football final; holiday requirements and most significantly, the issue of dual players “We have amateurs doing what professionals get paid to do in many sports, and they are doing 365 days a year for the best of Waterford GAA. Sometimes, things like this happen but again we are all grateful in Waterford for the Munster Council’s decision. It gives whomever wins on Saturday a decent time to prepare for Patrickswell,” Ryan said.

Meanwhile, Ulster club hurling reaches its conclusion on Sunday and Dungiven, who play Dunloy in the decider, were given a boost yesterday when it emerged Ciaran Hinphey has decided to delay his trip to Australia until after the game in Casement Park. Hinphey, son of manager Liam, was scheduled to fly out to Australia for a year yesterday, but will now wait until after the Ulster final. This will come as a great fillip to the Derry champions who will be without Cathal McKenna and Hugh Pearse McMullan, both of whom were dismissed in the Ulster semi-final victory over Armagh champions Keady last Sunday, while Eoin Farren is missing because he has gone to America.

Darren Kirwan will return from holidays to play for his club this weekend as he takes his place on the side of Louth champions St Patrick’s as they face Dublin champions St Brigid’s.

Clonguish, after their surprise win in Longford and equally surprising defeat of Wexford’s Kilanerin in the last round, had some serious injury concerns ahead of their game against Meath champions Blackhall Gaels. Paul Barden, their most influential player, broke his nose against Kilanerin and remains a major doubt while Enda Williams is out with a broken leg.

In Ulster, John McEntee, who made a brief appearance in last week’s defeat of Kiltyclogher, may start on the bench again for Crossmaglen against Derry champions, The Loup in the Ulster semi-final. McEntee, who is struggling with a pelvic injury, came on for the final 15 minutes in their romp against the Tyrone champions. Other than that, the Armagh champions who are building up a head of steam again, will be at full strength, but are expecting a tough challenge from the Derry title-holders.

The placing of Galway’s only All-Star nominee Ollie Canning at midfield was the main talking point when the Connacht team to meet Leinster in Saturday’s final in Rome of the inter-provincial hurling championship, formerly known as the Railway Cup, was announced last night.

Canning who recently captained his club Portumna to a first-ever county senior title was unavailable for the semi-final clash with Munster but he is now handed a midfield berth with St Thomas’ John Conroy as his partner.

CONNACHT (All Galway): L Donoghue; D Joyce, D Cloonan, F Moore; F Healy, T Óg Regan, D Tierney; J Conroy, O Canning; A Kerins, M Kerins, K Broderick; R Gantley, E Cloonan, D Forde.

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