Sunday, 24th September 2017
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Deise face rebels in opener

The opening round of the Munster Senior Football Championship will take place on Saturday next at 7pm when Cork are the visitors to Fraher Field Dungarvan. The home side who began their 2017 league campaign on such a high note, seemed to fall away after that and manager Tom McGlinchy and his backroom team will be hoping that they re-energise the lads for what looks a formidable challenge. Cork who themselves have been going through some lean years, had a disappointing run in the Munster and All-Irelan series of 2016. Beaten by a Tipperary side, 3-15 to 2-16, who continue to push an upward curve, the Leesiders came through two rounds of the qualifier system accounting for both Limerick and Longford.

However their challenge petered out in Round Four when they suffered defeat to Donegal on a 0-21 to 1-15 scoreline. Cork possess a talented pool of players, who on a "going" day, are well capable of competing with the best. Indeed one would have to say the Rebels are capable of being in the final shakeup. That of course is for "down the line" as their focus is now immediately on Fraher Field and a joust with Waterford. In recent games manager Peadar Healy has given some indication of his preferred lineup. Aiden Walsh continues to be the number one choice with a defence that will surely include Michael Sheilds and Stephen Cronin. Up front Cork possess threats in abundance with players like Nemo Rangers long serving Paul Kerrigan and Ballyclough clubman Colm O'Neill who both showing throughout the Allianz National League that they will hit the top of the scoring charts given the opportunity. Along with Donncha O'Connor and midfielders Ruairi Deane and Alan O'Connor they will ensure that the Waterford defence must remain vigilant.

The 2016 campaign was disappointing for the Deise. Waterford faced Tipperary and fell short 1-15 to 1-7 before departing the qualifiers on a 0-12 to 0-8 scoreline against Leitrim. However, in the opening games of this year the lads did perform well, particularly in WIT against Wicklow. Manager Tom McGlinchy and his backroom team will be well aware that this is a "huge ask" for the team but, games are not played on paper. The bainisteoir will probably remain close to the team that played in the league with Ballinacourty clubman Stephenh Enright in goal. The spine of the defence will be built around Nire's Thomas O'Gorman Ray O'Ceallaigh from An Rinn and number six Kilrossanty centre back Stephen Prendergast. The trusted midfield pairing of Tommy Prendergast and Michael Curry will work hard in the engine room to ensure that forwards like Conor Murray, Michael O'Halloran, Gavin Crotty, Mark Ferncombe and the Kilrossanty pair of Paul White and Joey Veale have plenty of good ball to capitalise on any Cork slackness.

All in all this is a big challenge for Waterford. The oddsmakers suggest that there is a huge spread in the rebels favour but, as we all know "David doth slay Goliath". Wouldn't that just set up the football year for the lads and a semi-final meeting with Tipperary two weeks later.

HURLERS HONOUR MAGNIFICENT FACILITY

Ballysaggart GAA had the official opening of their newly redeveloped facility on Saturday evening last when Offaly, under the stewardship of Mount Sion clubman Kevin Ryan, were the visitors. There are only a handful of opportunities for both Kevin Ryan and Waterford manager Derek McGrath to appraise their panels before the serious work of championship fare takes over. The home side were quickly "out of the blocks" and a goal within the opening five minutes saw them ahead 1-3 to 0-1. Bennett, a Ballysaggart clubman, was on the goal trail again eight minutes later as he rattled home number two (2-7 to 0-5) and he completed his hattrick on the quarter hour mark to ease Waterford nine points clear 3-7 to 0-7.

Hurler of the year Austin Gleeson, who is playing in a more forward role, notched goal number four for the hosts on 25 minutes and saw the deise ahead 4-10 to 0-15 at the break. Both management teams Derek McGrath/Dan Shanahan Waterford and Kevin Ryan/Johnny Dooley/Gary Cahill made a number of changes with with the former giving the majority of the panel a run. The second half saw Waterford hold the edge to complete the win on a 4-26 to 0-25 scoreline. Well done to all in Ballysaggart and best wishes for the future with Pairc Mochuda.

HURLERS AND HORSES

A reminder that Club Deise will hold their annual race day in Tramore on Friday June 2nd. With the support of racing manager Sue Phelan this has proven a real money spinner for the county with all money raised going towards the team training fund. Pre purchased tickets cost just E15.00 with a Grand Suite option available for E65.00 including 3 course meal, reserved table and exclusive bar. The highlight of the racing will be the Club Deise Handicap Hurdle which will start at 5.40pm. To get your ticket contact clubdeise.com or the following; The Local bar, Dungarvan, Club Deise Office Dungarvan, McGraths Lismore, Keniry's Tallow, Nicky's Bar Waterford or John O'Gorman's Tramore.

A great evening will surely be enjoyed by all and of course the chance to win "a few bob". On the evening there will be music by DJ John O'Shea

DOUBLE CELTIC DELIGHT

It was a week of success for both the West and East Waterford hurling teams in the Celtic Challenge competition last week. The team from West Waterford faced a Cork City who had lost both their opening outings. The lads from the Western Division were on a high following a superb win over East Waterford the previous week and they continued in that rich vein of form in this game. Early strikes from Seamus Cronin, Shane Kelly, Patrick Power and Jamie Walsh set the tone for the opening quarter with a Derek Feeney keeping the Rebels in touch. Indeed on the night it was the St Vincents who was the most impressive of the Cork lineout and the same player had the only goal ten minutes into the second half. Having led 0-9 to 0-7 at the break the Waterford lads were rocked by this Cork goal and it gave the Leesiders a three points lead.

Re organising their forces the Western forwards to win scoring chances and they forced their way back in front. At the end they had five points to spare 0-20 to 1-12 but whad to work hard for their deserved victory.

Meanwhile East Waterford who had been at the wrong end of scoreboard on their opening two outings got their first win, a 2-16 to 0-17 victory over South/East Limerick. Thankfully after heavy rain on both Monday and Tuesday the Weather Gods relented and the sun was shining in Cahir for this encounter. The Deise lads were first to grasp the game and led by debutante Dylan Fitzgerald they raced into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead after ten minutes. Limerick reorganised their attack and some long range shooting saw them overtake the Waterford lads although De La Salle's Sam Flynn was unerring with a couple of efforts from midfield. The Treatystone lads led 0-10 to 0-8 five minutes before the break. A big turning point for Waterford came when Ferrybank clubman Niall O’Sullivan collected in midfield and raced all of 40 metres to crash the ball to the net ensuring parity at half time 1-9 to 0-12. The second half was a close affair with both teams going for the win. Points from Ballygunner pair Jack Troy and Cormac Power edged Waterford ahead but each time Limerick responded. A second clinching goal for Waterford came with 8 minutes left when Seaghan Walsh swooped on a loose ball and goaled. Despite an all out attack by Limerick the Waterford defence held firm and the win was achieved. This result will hopefully catapult the lads to further wins in the competition beginning with Cork City in Kill on Saturday 27th at 3pm.

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