The Nire stand in the way as Stradbally bid for historic four in-a-row

DESPITE Waterford’s poor fortunes on the inter-county front, Stradbally’s bid for a fourth consecutive SFC title has generated much interest in tomorrow’s decider at Dungarvan, (3.30pm).

It is a repeat of the 2002 decider in which they were taken to a replay by the Nire before retaining their title by two points in an exciting tie.

No team has managed to land the four-in-a-row since the late 1940s while Stradbally will also be seeking their 13th title at senior grade. The Nire are bidding for their fifth crown last won in 2000 when they defeated Kilrossanty.

Stradbally will be relying on the same 15 that saw off Ardmore in the semi-final. It’s a vastly experienced outfit with the only major change from last year being the replacement of goalkeeper Kevin Cunningham with first cousin Eoin Cunningham.

Ger Power will captain the side in an attack that also includes county hurling star Michael Walsh and Waterford’s footballer of the year for the last two championship seasons, Niall Curran.

The Nire will relish their outsiders’ role, and can’t wait to renew rivalry with the champions. They blitzed Kilrossanty in the semi thanks to a great display by centre forward Shane Walsh, and earlier had seen off the challenges of Rathgormack and Tramore.

David Ryan, Michael Byrne, and Connie Power, who are All-Ireland junior medal winners, are also central figures.

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