Sport Hurling

Saturday 25 March 2017

Kelly left out as Fitzgerald puts faith in Waterford's young guns

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Eoin Kelly has been omitted from Waterford's first team of the 2011 championship as manager Davy Fitzgerald hands debuts to four players for Sunday's Munster SHC semi-final with Limerick at Semple Stadium.

Kelly has been an ever-present for Waterford since his breakthrough in 2002, when they won the first of their four Munster titles over the last decade.

But his form was indifferent last season and earlier this year he was ready to withdraw from the squad, disillusioned with the game.

Fitzgerald is understood to have coaxed him back on that occasion, but, in a clear sign that he is willing to move on without the versatile Kelly, a new-look team has been devised for the clash with Limerick.

Darragh Fives, Paraic Mahony, Wayne Hutchinson and Brian O'Sullivan will start their first championship games.

Feature

Fives, Mahony and O'Sullivan were all members of the U-21 team which lost to Tipperary last week. Noel Connors and Maurice Shanahan, who also feature on Sunday's team, are also U-21s.

Fives and Mahony were members of last year's minor team, which underlines the approach Fitzgerald is taking.

Tony Browne, though, is twice their age as he gets ready to span his championship career to 20 years.

Browne and John Mullane are now the only starters from the 2002 team, with only five starters from the '07 team that started the All-Ireland semi-final against Limerick -- Michael Walsh, Clinton Hennessy, Browne, Mullane and captain Stephen Molumphy. Shane O'Sullivan and Shane Walsh, substitutes that day, start on Sunday.

Liam Lawlor was not considered in defence because of injury, while another of the more promising young players, Brian O'Halloran, is also out injured.

Limerick manager Donal O'Grady hands championship debuts to three players for the clash in Thurles.

Richie McCarthy, Sean Tobin and Kevin Downes are all named in a new-look attack, but there is no place in the side for Stephen Lucey, who misses out because of a hamstring problem that also ruled him out of the footballers' defeat to Kerry last weekend.

Seamus Hickey has been named at full-back, with Brian Geary at centre-back. Hickey and midfielder Paul Browne were both nursing injuries, but have been passed fit to start in O'Grady's first championship selection since taking over.

WATERFORD (SH v Limerick) -- C Hennessy; D Fives, W Hutchinson, N Connors; T Browne, M Walsh, K Moran; S O'Sullivan, R Foley; P Mahony, S Molumphy, M Shanahan; J Mullane, S Walsh, B O'Sullivan.

Limerick (SH) -- N Quaid; D Reale, S Hickey, T Condon; W McNamara, B Geary, G O'Mahony; D O'Grady, P Browne; J Ryan, R McCarthy, N Moran; S Tobin, K Downes, G Mulcahy.

Irish Independent

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