SHC preview: Deise and Rebels battle to join Tribesmen

August 11, 2017

The Cork and Waterford teams parade before their Munster SHC semi-final clash at Semple Stadium, Thurles.
©INPHO/Oisin Keniry.

It's an all Munster affair this Sunday as Cork and Waterford battle it out for a place alongside Galway in next month's All-Ireland senior hurling championship final. Here's our preview:

 

Sunday, August 13th

All-Ireland SHC semi-final

Cork v Waterford, Croke Park, 3.30pm

All roads lead to Croker from here on in and Sunday promises to be another cracking encounter at headquarters when Cork and Waterford collide for a berth on hurling's biggest stage.

Galway await the winners on September 3rd, but this weekend it's all about the Rebels and the Deise men as the former looks to repeat their Munster semi-final victory over their neighbours. One would hope for a closer margin than five points separating them this time around and the general feeling is that there will be, with Derek McGrath's charges having stepped up their game considerably from June 18th.

Offaly, Kilkenny and Wexford have all been shown the exit door since and Austin Gleeson's form for his county has started to look much more familiar to that which earned him last year's Hurler of the Year accolade.

It's no revelation to stress that the big Mount Sion man's form will be imperative to the Deise men's hopes on Sunday, but the 22-year-old is just that important and his powerful drives from the central stations he picks up could well be what ends up winning the game for Waterford if it is to be.

Gleeson is his county's second highest scorer this summer with 0-16 (only two of that tally are from frees), trailing placed ball specialist Pauric Mahony (0-31), and you get the feeling that every score will count from those two come the late stages on Sunday.

Kieran Kingston's Cork side have been one of the stories of the championship so far and could well end up writing a whole new chapter yet, heading into this weekend as 8/11 favourites.

The men from Leeside's first Munster championship success in three years was fully merited, beating recently dethroned All-Ireland champions Tipperary, Waterford and Clare along the way, and they're also justified favourites for Sunday with Patrick Horgan and Conor Lehane in their shooting ranks.

Lehane was most prominent when these sides last met two months ago and should Tadhg de Burca stay suspended and be unavailable to pick him up then McGrath will have to reshuffle things, which could well see Gleeson positioned at centre-back.

Either way, he's the man that will have to be at the centre of things from a Waterford perspective and both he and his team mates will need to have learned from their mistakes as Sunday presents them with a massive opportunity.

Verdict: Waterford



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