Sunday 25 March 2018

Cyril Farrell: Waterford can replicate last week's intensity and end cats' reign

Waterford hurling manager Derek McGrath
Waterford hurling manager Derek McGrath
Brian Cody. Photo: Sportsfile

Cyril Farrell

What happens in the Kilkenny dressing-room stays there but I have no doubt that one of the questions Brian Cody will have raised with his players this week is why they allowed themselves to be forced into playing on Waterford's terms rather than the other way around.

Setting the agenda has been a foundation stone of Kilkenny's approach under Cody (pictured), but with Waterford so fired and so driven last Sunday, they were reacting most of the time.

It says everything about their powers of survival that after being behind for so long they still managed to rescue the situation.

And since the popular view is that Kilkenny always - or at least nearly always - win replays, Waterford are facing a different type of pressure this evening.

It's one I believe they can cope with and book a place in the final. Waterford's intensity levels were incredibly high last Sunday and there's no reasons they can't replicate that.

Kilkenny responded as you would expect from great champions but it will still be of concern to them that there were very few periods when they looked like the team we have known and admired for so long.

Austin Gleeson and Pauric Mahony inflicted enormous damage on Kilkenny, while the tactic of having Jamie Barron run at the Kilkenny defence rather than tangling with Michael Fennelly at close quarters worked very well.

Derek McGrath will be looking for more of the same, plus a little extra, but most of all, he will want it to be carried out with the degree of accuracy that caused Kilkenny so many problems last Sunday.

Going against Kilkenny in a replay is risky but if Waterford get their game right, there's no reason why they can't win this one.

Irish Independent

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