Déise have the firepower

IRRESPECTIVE of the outcome of tomorrow’s All-Ireland MHC semi-final in Croke Park, it will be a novel experience for the winners to have qualified for an All-Ireland decider. Waterford last reached the final in 1992, while Dublin’s wait stretches back to 1983.

Shay Boland’s Dublin charges enter this game on the back of securing the county’s third Leinster minor hurling crown in seven years by beating Kilkenny last month 1-15 to 1-11.

Boland has named an unchanged team with leading lights like Matthew McCaffrey, brother of senior captain Johnny, Ciarán Kilkenny, Paul Winters, Emmet Ó Conghaile and Cormac Costello looking to shine once more. Kilkenny, Ó Conghaile, Costello and corner-back Eric Lowndes are also members of the Dublin minor football side that face Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final on August 28.

Waterford manager Liam O’Connor has also made no personnel alterations The Déise got their season back on track at the All-Ireland quarter-final stage against Kilkenny in Walsh Park with a 0-15 to 0-9 success, having previously suffered a decisive provincial final loss to Clare, 1-20 to 3-9. Waterford’s defence tightened up significantly against Kilkenny with Jamie Barron, who lined out for the county U-21 side earlier this summer, and Darren Foley important figures in their rearguard.

Up front Jake Dillon and Gavin O’Brien are both potential match-winners, while Donal Breathnach made a big impact when introduced from the start against Kilkenny as he helped himself to 0-4. The ability of that trio to post scores will be vital to Waterford’s cause, while full-forward Stephen Bennett will seek to replicate the stunning form that saw him bag a hat-trick of goals against Limerick in the Munster semi-final.

Two years ago Waterford saw their ambitions scuppered at the semi-final stage by Galway, but they have the talent to set up a final meeting with the Tribesmen on September 4.

DUBLIN MH: C Ryan; E Lowndes, C O’Callaghan, S McClelland; C Crummy, J Desmond, M McCaffrey; C Cronin, G Whelan; E Ó’Conghaile, C McHugh, C Kilkenny; P Winters, A Clabby, C Costello.

WATERFORD MH: P Cooke; J Barron, D Ahern, C Walsh; I Kenny, D Foley, J Power; S McNulty, R Barry; J Dillon, G O’Brien, D Breathnach; P O’Keeffe, S Bennett, C Curran.

Subs: S Forristal, C Chester, S Roche, S O’Neill, M Harney, C Dunford, C Heffernan, A O’Sullivan, D O’Brien.

Picture: Jake Dillon: Forward ace a potential match-winner for Waterford minors against Dublin. Picture: SPORTSFILE

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