Tipperary’s forward momentum set to deny recalibrated Waterford

Preview: Allianz Hurling League semi-final – Tipperary v Waterford, Nowlan Park, 4pm , TG4

The successful appeal of Séamus Callanan’s red card suspension restores the focal point of Tipperary’s attack. Photograph: Inpho

The successful appeal of Séamus Callanan’s red card suspension restores the focal point of Tipperary’s attack. Photograph: Inpho

 

Tipperary’s approach to this match will undoubtedly be shaped by thoughts for their team-mate Noel McGrath, who is recovering from surgery this weekend. This news that Loughmore-Castleiney wizard had been diagnosed with testicular cancer made Tipperary’s other personnel problems seem trivial. They are missing several key players, not least McGrath and his absence in their dressingroom will be noted.

Waterford have been eye-catching this spring, with an impressive quarter-final victory over Galway confirming their reputation as a young team on the move. The cribbing over their strategic set-up is a storm in a tea cup and even if Derek McGrath does believe in supplementing his back divisions with nominal forwards, they are facing the most expansively attacking side in the game at Nowlan Park.

Callanan availability

The fearlessness with which McGrath has recalibrated Waterford since their demotion from the top flight a year ago has begun to reap its rewards – 14 of his panel are under-21 players and he has stated his belief this group can become a key component of a squad capable of contending for All-Ireland honours. Youth and inexperience won’t be offered as an excuse if they lose and they will play without fear. But it is difficult to imagine Waterford completely restraining the forward momentum of Pádraig Maher, Brendan Maher, John O’Dwyer and Callanan.

Darren Gleeson returns after their recent injuries, Conor O’Brien and Shane McGrath replace the injured Cathal Barrett and Kieran Bergin.

Waterford have a full bill of health, with the influential Michael “Brick” Walsh set to rattle the Tipperary half-back line as he returns from a rib injury.

It is a rare day Tipp get to come into Nowlan Park without having to worry about Kilkenny and the likelihood is that they will mark that novelty with a victory.

TIPPERARY: Darren Gleeson (Portroe), Paddy Stapleton (Borris Ileigh), Conor O’Mahony (Newport), Conor O’Brien (Éire Óg Annacarty), Michael Breen (Ballina), Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields), Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields), James Woodlock (Drom & Inch), Shane McGrath (Ballinahinch), John O’Dwyer (Killenaule), Brendan Maher Capt., (Borris Ileigh), Jason Forde (Silvermines), Seamus Callanan (Drom & Inch), Patrick Maher (Lorrha Dorrha), Niall O’Meara (Kilruane McDonaghs).

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