Sunday 17 December 2017

Déise out to debunk Kilkenny replay theory

Gaelic games

Waterford manager Derek McGrath. Photo: Sportsfile
Waterford manager Derek McGrath. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Debunking the widely-held theory that Kilkenny are replay specialists who don't lose second time around will be high on Derek McGrath's agenda in his final team talk before this evening's All-Ireland hurling semi-final replay in Thurles (6.45).

The Waterford manager knows that if Kilkenny's fearsome reputation as replay destroyers registers with his players it could drain vital energy.

The Déise came so close to unseating the All-Ireland champions last Sunday that there's no reason why their confidence levels won't be sky-high unless, of course, they fall for 'Kilkenny don't lose replays' line.

Dublin disproved that with a three-point win over the Cats in the 2013 Leinster semi-final. However, it was Kilkenny's only replay defeat in the Brian Cody era, having earlier beaten Galway in 2014 and 2012, Tipperary in 2014 and Clare in 2004.

While Kilkenny have done very well in replays under Cody, their record throughout championship history is nowhere nearly as impressive as is generally thought, having won 10 of 17 over the last 100 years.

And, in what is possibly a good omen for Waterford, they beat Kilkenny in the only replay between the counties in the 1959 All-Ireland final.

Despite Waterford's fine performance last Sunday, they are 3/1 outsiders to reach the All-Ireland final for the first time since 2008.

Kilkenny were way below their best for long stretches but Cody has kept faith with the same starting 15, despite Eoin Larkin's impressive showing when he came on in the second half.

Tipperary are well backed to beat Galway in the second semi-final in Croke Park tomorrow (3.30). That's despite losing to the Tribesmen in last year's semi-final and needing a last-minute point to snatch a draw in their Allianz League clash in March.

This is Galway's biggest test since forcing a change of management last year as they attempt to reach the final for the third time in five seasons.

Irish Independent

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