Neighbours Waterford and Kilkenny do battle in Walsh Park on Saturday (throw in 7pm) with a place in the semi final of the Minor All Ireland at stake.
After failing to reproduce the form that saw impressive wins over Tipperary and Limerick in the earlier rounds against Clare Waterford will be hoping that a return to the scene of those successes will see them put one over on Kilkenny.
However the decision of the county board to schedule a full round of minor fixtures just twenty four hours after the Waterford minor hurlers lost the Munster final to Clare last Sunday week could see fatigue play a big factor in the game.
That decision was widely criticised and caused something of a storm in Waterford as eight players were forced turn out and play in club championship games with team Manager Liam “Chuck’’ O’Connor describing the decision as “an absolute disgrace’’.
Waterford and Kilkenny have already met this year in a number of challenge games prior to the beginning of the championship starting, the last of which was narrowly won by the Deise in Walsh Park.
Kilkenny make four changes in personnel and a number of changes in position from the side defeated by Dublin in the Leinster final. The defending All Ireland champions bring into their starting fifteen Eoin Moriarity, Jack Mc Grath, David Kearns and James Maher.
Waterford meanwhile could make a few changes to their starting line up with Donal Breathnach, who was impressive when introduced in the second half of the Munster final like to get a start in this game along with other substitutes Ian Kenny and Cathal Curran.
Kilkenny: 1. Aaron Duggan (Captain), 2. Ciaran Doyle 3. Jack Mc Dowell 4. Eoin Moriarty 5. Jack McGrath 6. Owen McGrath 7. Diarmuid Cody 8. Chris Bolger 9. David Kearns 10. Richie Reid 11. Kevin Kelly 12. James Maher 13. Thomas O’Hanrahan 14. Conor Martin 15. Peter Vickery
Prediction: This game is likely to be a very close run affair. Home advantage for Waterford could play its part in delivering a victory. However, I feel the talent and experience of the Kilkenny hurling side is bound to come good.
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