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Déise resolve can see off Tribesmen

"We're top now, but we could be bottom by Sunday evening." That's how Waterford manager Michael Ryan neatly summed up the Déise's tantalising yet precarious position ahead of tomorrow's pivotal showdown with Galway.

Waterford, pre-season candidates for the drop according to the bar stool consensus, have defied lowly expectation in the post-John Mullane era. Even a draw tomorrow would be sufficient to copperfasten a semi-final place.

Normally, you might fancy Galway given their status as All-Ireland finalists and the only team to make Kilkenny look mortal in recent championship combat. And yet – even though Joe Canning has been his usual free-scoring, talismanic self for much of this campaign – the support cast has spluttered.

After squeezing past Kilkenny on day one, the faltering Tribesmen have picked up just one point from their next three games – and even their deadlock at home to Cork last week left Anthony Cunningham bemoaning a "lack of concentration" in the home straight.

By contrast, Waterford snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a late three-point salvo against Tipperary. That resolve might, just might, prove decisive here, especially with home advantage.

ODDS: Waterford 5/4, Draw 10/1, Galway 4/5

VERDICT: Waterford