Waterford lose skipper for quarter-final clash

WATERFORD captain Paul Flynn is out of Sunday’s All-Ireland hurling quarter-final against Tipperary at Croke Park.

Unable to take a full part in training for several weeks because of a thigh injury that will necessitate an operation later in the year, the skipper’s availability for this repeat of the Munster championship semi-final was always a major doubt. Fingers were tightly crossed that he might be able to lead out the side, but the selectors quickly discarded the idea of gambling with him when they sat down to finalise the starting 15.

He has, however, been named among the substitutes and it will be no surprise if he is sprung from the bench at some stage of the game. While the loss of Flynn, who hasn’t started a game since the June 4 loss to Tipp, is a big blow, on the credit side is the return of Tom Feeney, who missed the last qualifier against Laois because of a shoulder injury. Eoin Murphy also retired injured in that game but he too has been passed fit and the duo complete a rearranged full back line with Declan Prendergast, whose Ardmore clubmate Clinton Hennessey remains the undisputed first choice goalkeeper.

The big change in a defence in which James Murray has been relegated to the subs is the return of Ken McGrath to the pivotal berth, flanked by Tony Browne and Brian Phelan. McGrath’s move to defence means a new midfield partner, Shane O’Sullivan, for Dave Bennett at midfield, and in Flynn’s absence the 20-year-old UCC student will take over the captaincy.

Seamas Prendergast, who only came on as a second-half sub against Laois because of a niggling hamstring problem, is named at centre forward, and to the surprise of many, Michael Walsh is again named at full forward. The likelihood, however, is that both will involve in a direct swap once the game gets under way. Elsewhere up front it’s as expected, with Dan Shanahan and Eoin Kelly on the wings and John Mullane and Eoin McGrath in the corners.

The Waterford senior football team to play holders Tipperary in the first round of the Tommy Murphy Cup in Dungarvan tomorrow (2pm) is weakened by the absence of several regulars. Brian Wall is on holidays, John Phelan and Liam O’Lionain are in the US for the summer and Ger Power is injured.

Waterford (SH v Tipperary): C. Hennessy; D. Prendergast, T. Feeney, E. Murphy; T. Browne, K. McGrath, B. Phelan; D. Bennett, S. O’Sullivan; D. Shanahan, S. Prendergast, E. Kelly; J. Mullane, M. Walsh, E. McGrath

Waterford (SF v Tipperary): T. Wall; S. Briggs, L. Hurney, E. Walsh; P. Ogle, E. Rockett, J. Hurney; A. Hubbard, M. Aherne; Killian O’Keeffe, G. Hurney, Karl O’Keeffe; S. Cunningham, W. Hennessy, J. Ryan.

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