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Surprise package Waterford may be restricted.

HURLING EVEN the most optimistic Waterford supporter would never have guessed in January that their team would be the last left unbeaten come mid-July, writes David Jennings.

This was supposed to be a Waterford team in, the greats like Dan Shanahan no longer there, a team jam-packed full of youngsters who needed time to grow. But somehow Derek McGrath has managed to translate promise into substance in the space of 12 months. It has been a remarkable feat on his part.

Their style is unique but their counter-attack has caught Cork on the hop twice and their Munster semi-final success over the Rebels, where they scored 3-19, was particularly impressive.

The thing about Waterford is that you never know where their players are going to pop up. One minute Tadgh De Burca is in his own full-back line catching a '65' that drops short, the next he's down in the far corner firing over the bar from the tightest of angles. This Waterford team pride themselves on unpredictability.

Their skill and stick-work is phenomenal. Indeed, their closeball control has looked better than any other team in the championship. So how on earth do you go about beating Waterford? Tipperary are unlikely to bow to Waterford. They might respect their system but they won't change theirs as a consequence. The Premier boys beat Limerick comprehensively by hurling the way they've always hurled - moving the sliotar at pace, getting it to their forwards and letting them finish the job.

Tipperary have better forwards than Waterford. That is the one thing we know for sure. It's a big bonus to have.

McGrath knows that and he will be keen to quell the influence of Seamus Callanan and John O'Dwyer in particular. If he stops that star duo, the chances of a Waterford win increase.

But he will have to sacrifice some attacking options to do that and if Waterford are to win this game they can't get embroiled in a high-scoring shootout.

The scoring could turn out to be lower than anticipated and it would come as little surprise if Waterford failed to find the net.

The best bet on the Munster final coupon is probably Waterford to score 21 points or fewer. Even if they win, 18 or 19 points might do it.

Tipperary are the most likely winners, but they make little appeal at the prices.

Recommendations Under 21.5 Waterford points 3pts 5-6 BoyleSports No Waterford goal 1pt 3-1 Ladbrokes, Paddy Power

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jul 12, 2015
Words:412
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