Liam Cahill believes hurling league format suits his young Waterford side
Manager looking for strong finish in games against Galway and Tipperary
Tempers flare between Limerick’s Kyle Hayes and Conor Prunty of Waterford during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group A match at Walsh Park. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho
Liam Cahill has made no secret of his need and desire to finish out the Allianz Hurling League on the strongest possible terms, although the Waterford manager is set to be without centre back Iarlaith Daly for the penultimate round clash with Galway on Sunday week.
Daly was involved in the messy end of match melee that spilled over on to the sideline at Walsh Park on Sunday, just as Waterford had recorded their first over Limerick anywhere since 2016, putting a reverse on the result of last year’s Munster and All-Ireland finals in the process.
Limerick defender Kyle Hayes was shown a straight red card by match referee Paud O’Dwyer for his involvement, and will miss their next game against Cork as a result: Daly has now also been proposed with a one-match ban after the Central Competition Controls Committee (CCCC) reviewed video footage.
Daly can contest the charge and request a hearing, although the video footage would appear to be conclusive, the penalty being for a category-three offence, kicking with minimal force.
After going unbeaten all last year, the All-Ireland champions are now five months into this year without their first win.
Limerick are already set to be without full forward Séamus Flanagan for the meeting with Cork, after he was shown a straight red card on 28 minutes, after an off-the-ball incident.
For Cahill, who after heading to Galway the weekend after next week will finish the regular round of matches against his native Tipperary, the quick succession of games he feels is also suited to his younger team.
“It’s been a really good league,” he says, “I know people might think that there’s not really much emphasis about it this year because of the way it’s structured but I think you’ve see the ferocity on the sideline towards the end of that match today, I don’t think anyone could say the league doesn’t matter and these games don’t matter.
“Having said that, we have to be fierce careful because it is week after week. But we look forward to the two-week break now and look forward to the last two matches, two big tests with Galway and then Tipperary the week after.
“It’s difficult, it’s very much the case that you’re watching for those signs and making sure that you’re not hitting the overload button. It’s very finely tuned and we’re fortunate in Waterford that the majority of the team are quite young and might be able to take that little bit more hardship than maybe an older team.”
Galway will present a different challenge again: “Yeah, another big physical team and going quite well, they were really in it last night [Saturday] up to the last few minutes against Tipperary and made a number of changes as well.
“I think Shane O’Neill has a lot of strings to his bow there as well with the quality he has in Galway so look, there’s no easy game, that’s the nature of intercounty hurling. It’s brilliant, it’s competitive and I hope that will continue now, it will augur well for a good championship.”
Though re-fixed for this Sunday, the GAA are continuing to monitor the Covid-19 situation around the Kilkenny-Wexford meeting in Division 1B, set for Nowlan Park. The match is subject to the Wexford players currently isolating being deemed safe to play by the HSE on Thursday.
Where a county is unable to fulfil a fixture due to issues related to Covid, the game will be awarded to the opposing team, but without any further penalty being imposed. The exceptions to this are: where there is a clear 13 days between the original fixture and the next scheduled round of the competition or any game where relegation would be a direct consequence of the walkover.