Former Waterford star Eoin Kelly believes the Déise need “two or three goals” to beat Kilkenny in Sunday’s All-Ireland SHC semi-final — but fears they are set up too defensively to get them.
Kelly, a selector with the county’s victorious Munster U21 winning team, can’t see Derek McGrath’s men troubling the Cats unless they strike for an early green flag.
The four-time Munster SHC medallist said: “You’re going to need two or three goals and we’re not going to get them. That’s how I see it. We’re set up so defensively.
“The lads have forwards — we have two or three with us in the U21s and they’re good enough but they’re 45 yards away from goal. Would you play Messi or Ronaldo at centre-half? You wouldn’t.
“You’d play them where they’re going to be more dangerous. I just think we’re way too defensive.
“Tipp showed that in the Munster final — long ball in, breaking ball, goal every time. Hurling is simple.
“Football is a lot more tactical but hurling is simple — get the ball from A to B and leave the forwards do damage. We’re not doing that. We’ve no one in there to do that.”
Waterford’s U21s are set up in a more conventional manner than their senior counterparts, with Kelly insisting that attack is the best form of defence with a talented group.
He explained: “We have six forwards — five of them on the senior panel. It’s likely that they’re better than what they’re marking so we’re playing the ball to their strengths, to get goals.
“The goals were the clinical thing to win the match (Munster U21 final against Tipperary).
“It was point for point up to that. The goals gave us the edge.
“I wouldn’t set up the way they’re being set up at senior — but I’m not the manager.
“He’s after getting them to two league finals, two Munster finals, two All-Ireland semi-finals so he obviously knows what he’s doing.”
And Kelly does believe that the senior team can feed off the oxygen generated by Waterford’s clinical march to a first provincial U21 crown in 22 years.
He said: “It will give them a huge boost. There’s a bit of a buzz there now but there was a bit of a buzz before the Tipp match and look what happened. The young fellas have a bit of confidence back.
“If they could get an early goal, they could rattle Kilkenny. I don’t know will they beat them but I think they’ll rattle them.”
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