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Sunday 11 December 2016

Waterford shouldn't tinker for Dubs crunch tie

Connors adamant that Deise will stick to formula for quarter-final

Noel Connors, Waterford, with the Liam MacCarthy Cup
Noel Connors, Waterford, with the Liam MacCarthy Cup
Liam Rushe

WATERFORD should resist tweaking their system for an All-Ireland quarter-final with Dublin despite Sunday's Munster final loss to Tipperary in Thurles, according to Noel Connors.

The Deise's season had, thus far, been notable for two primary reasons, namely their unbeaten competitive record prior to Sunday and the implementation of a system that features Tadhg de Burca as a deep-lying sweeper, routinely accompanied by a second covering attacker.

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Liam Rushe

Tipp's five point win put an end to their unblemished 2015, one that incorporated an unexpected League title win, though Connors was adamant it wouldn't pre-empt a deviation from the formula largely responsible for their progress.

"I'd say we would just stick to what we're used to rather than change just because we had a defeat," Connors stated at yesterday's launch for the All-Ireland series at Dicksboro GAA club.

"A lot of people were probably putting Tipp as favourites and firm favourites and that was probably fair enough because between themselves and Kilkenny, they've been the benchmark for the past few years.

"I don't think we should change. We were playing one of the best teams in the country. No doubt you want to win but you have to be a realist as well.

"We're relatively young. We're still a forming team. So we'll take things on the chin. Build on these things and drive them forward and make them into your strengths for future years."

Reflecting on Dublin's one-point win over Limerick in Thurles last Saturday, Connor reckoned Dublin "showed pure aggression and pure steel."

"It kind of shows what ability they have and their strengths. I think that Dublin are after having so many competitive games in Division 1A and it didn't show up the second day against Galway.

"I think they alluded to that quite a bit in their press.

"The first 10 minutes was just the horror of just kind of having the 10 minutes where you kind of fall asleep and Galway, being Galway, capitalised on it.

"I suppose they showed pure aggression and pure steel against Limerick. That Limerick team were within a score of being in an All-Ireland final and that's what you benchmark them off.

"You look at them as a team that's been put up there and put up against one of the best teams in the country and come out the better end of it."

"Ger coming into it has brought something different," Connors added.

"And you can see the kind of style of hurling Dublin are playing and they are very robust and extremely fit and physical and I think that they use their strengths extremely, extremely well and they have a fantastic panel there, which they use quite well."

stronger

Meanwhile, Tipperary defender Kieran Bergin has revealed that Noel McGrath had expected to play some part for Tipperary in their provincial success last Sunday but reckoned he would make the Premier's All-Ireland semi-final on August 16th.

"I think he's frustrated with himself. He thought he would have been back," Bergin stated.

"I spoke to him a few months ago after he done the chemo and he said he thought he would be back for the Munster final.

"He thought he would be back two weeks before so he would have been eligible to play. He's doing a bit of training with us but not at the same level.

"He'll come back stronger than ever now."

Paudie Maher, who completed the match, but wore a sling afterwards, is expected to be out for three to four weeks.

But like McGrath, should be back for the semi-final against Cork or Galway.

"It all really depends on the scan," Bergin revealed.

"Hopefully, he'll be able to get back for us because he's been a key player for us.

"He's like a Dyson hoover there, he mops up so much ball.

"Without him, we would be in a bit of trouble."

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