Waterford football selector Tony Corcoran is optimistic the Déise can spring a shock against Derry having retained almost their entire panel for the qualifiers.
Having lost to Cork by a point in the Munster quarter-final, Waterford were yesterday drawn at home to Derry in the first round of the qualifiers. The county’s backdoor record, though, makes for grim reading. From 15 games, they’ve managed just one win - that a 1-17 to 0-13 victory over London in 2011.
In more recent years, the county’s qualifier defeats have been overshadowed by the exodus of players from the panel following their Munster championship exit, players who prioritised a summer of travelling over Waterford’s qualifier campaign. Indeed, a week prior to their backdoor clash against Offaly in 2015, a letter written by manager Tom McGlinchey was read out at a county board meeting. It stated that between “injury, withdrawal, family commitments and trips to America,” 14 players who had seen league action were no longer available.
Waterford lost to Offaly by 13 points. From the team which almost stunned Cork, corner-back Brian Looby is the only player unavailable for the qualifiers. “To be fair to Brian, he told us a good while back that he would be leaving so we knew we would be losing him,” said Corcoran. “Last year, we lost three or four. It was the same the year before. This year, we have everyone else. The mood is good because we gave Cork a good run. The team, though, will only be recognised if we can turn in the same performance again. These flash in the pan performances are not good enough anymore.
“If we can come up with the same sort of performance again, hopefully, it might be good enough to get us over the line and that would be great for the team. We took a lot from our performance against Cork. We will try to cause Derry a few problems like we did with Cork. You are playing one of the northern teams so they will bring an extra physicality to the game. It is up to us to set out our stall in such a fashion that benefits ourselves, as well as stopping them from playing.”
Elsewhere, there are two all-Leinster clashes, with Louth at home to Longford and Wicklow entertaining Laois. Armagh will have home advantage for their all-Ulster tie with Fermanagh. The All-Ireland SHC preliminary round clash involving Laois and the winners of the Christy Ring Cup final between Carlow and Antrim will be played on the weekend of June 24/25.
Saturday, June 17:
All-Ireland SFC round 1A: Waterford v Derry, Fraher Field, Dungarvan, 3pm; Louth v Longford, Gaelic Grounds, Drogheda, 5pm; Wicklow v Laois, Aughrim, 5pm; Sligo v Antrim, Markievicz Park, 5pm.
Saturday, June 24 :
All-Ireland SFC round 1B Limerick v Wexford, Gaelic Grounds, 3pm.
Sunday, June 25:
All-Ireland SFC round 1B: London v Carlow, McGovern Park, Ruislip 1pm; Armagh v Fermanagh, Athletic Grounds, 6.30pm; Offaly/Westmeath v Cavan/Monaghan, O’Connor Park, Tullamore/TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar, 6.30pm.
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