Jackie Tyrrell’s Waterford player-by-player profiles
Irish Times hurling columnist gives his lowdown on Déise team ahead of Sunday's final
1 Stephen O’Keeffe (Ballygunner) Twitter: @sok91
Age: 26 Height: 6’ 2” Weight: 13st 3lbs
Mr Dependable. A brilliant shot-stopper and has added the flea-flicker to his puck-outs - ie, plays short to a defender, takes the return and launches on the run so he can bypass the half-back line. Big influence.
2 Shane Fives (Tourin) @dfives555
Age: 28 Height: 6’ Weight: 13st
Very comfortable on the ball. I’ve noticed him coming forward a lot more this year than before so he seems to have more licence. Strong in the air as well, which they will need given the height of the Galway forwards.
3 Barry Coughlan (Ballygunner) @BarryC4
Age: 27 Height: 6’ 4” Weight: 13st 5lbs
Underrated in my opinion. Does his job every day he goes out. Happy to break the ball down for Tadhg de Búrca in front or Stephen O’Keefe behind. Knows his role and keeps it simple – nothing gets through him.
4 Noel Connors (Passage) @NoelieConnors
Age: 27 Height: 5’ 9” Weight: 12st 8lbs
Has been a rock for Waterford for years. Their go-to guy when they want a forward shut down. I presume he will take Conor Whelan – what a battle that will be between two lads at the very top of their game.
5 Tadhg de Búrca (Clashmore-Kinsalebeag) @TadhgBourke
Age: 22 Height: 6’ 1” Weight: 12st 10lb
The key player in the Waterford defence. Great understanding with the six defenders around him. Excellent distributor, great positional sense and very good under the high ball, which he doesn’t get credit for.
6 Austin Gleeson (Mount Sion) @AussieGleeson
Age: 22 Height: 6’ 3” Weight: 14st 7lbs
The enigma. Wonderfully talented and skilled, able to do things nobody else can. Has all the attributes and has matured this year, taking fewer potshots. Has to get into the game early. Can’t wait until the last 10 minutes again.
7 Philip Mahony (Ballygunner) @philip91m
Age: 26 Height: 6’ Weight: 13st 2lbs
Strong and aggressive. Doesn’t catch many puck-outs but his man doesn’t catch many either. Not the tallest but they tend to put him on Wally Walsh when they play Kilkenny so I’d imagine he’ll take one of the Cooneys.
8 Jamie Barron (Fourmilewater)
Age: 23 Height: 5’ 9” Weight: 12st 6lbs @jbarron_26
Prime contender for Hurler of the Year at the minute. Covers unbelievable ground, so skilful in the tight, great first touch left and right. Massive leadership when the game is there to be won.
18 Kieran Bennett (Ballysaggart)
Age: 22 Height: 6’ Weight: 13st @kieranbennett99
Relatively unknown at this level. Shane Kingston posed him a few problems initially in the semi-final but he stormed back into it and came out with some crucial balls near the end. Galway will target him, must be aware of that.
10 Kevin Moran (De La Salle, capt) @kevdls
Age: 30 Height: 6’ 2” Weight: 14st 2lbs
The team’s biggest leader. Covers huge ground and has real licence to get forward because of the way Waterford set up. Contributes key scores in every game and needs to do the same here.
11 Pauric Mahony (Ballygunner) @PauricMahony
Age: 25 Height: 6’ Weight: 13st 3lbs
Mr Reliable on the frees and he was a major contributor in the semi-final when it was really needed. Coming into form at a key time. Has to chip in with three or four points from play along with a 90 per cent strike rate from frees.
12 Jake Dillon (De La Salle) @JakeDillon3
Age: 24 Height: 5’ 10” Weight: 13st 3lbs
Empties himself for 45 minutes and then comes off to be replaced by Maurice Shanahan. Plays his clearly defined role without complaint. Throws himself into every exchange, picks up breaks, keeps them moving. Team player.
13 Shane Bennett (Ballysaggart) @shanebennett24
Age: 20 Height: 6’ Weight: 13st
Has a thankless task sometimes but can blow hot and cold and can drift out of matches. Waterford need to get him into the game and get him a shot at goals early. A pure finisher when the game is going his way.
14 Michael Walsh (Stradbally) @MWalsh1983
Age: 34 Height: 5’ 11” Weight: 13st
Finally this year getting a bit of exposure and credit for his work. Does all the donkey work so others don’t have to and has added scores to his game. Waterford use him smartly to find weakness in opposition defence.
15 Darragh Fives (Tourin) @dfives555
Age: 25 Height: 6’ 1” Weight: 13st
Huge reason why Waterford are in the final. Man of the match filling in for De Búrca the last day and brilliant against Wexford too. Big presence in the defence, his leadership qualities are going to be crucial here.