Kilkenny’s TJ Reid has shared his thoughts ahead of Sunday’s All-Ireland Final between Waterford and Galway – discussing the Deise’s tactics as well as weighing in on the Austin Gleeson and Joe Canning debate.
Speaking to Paul Keane of the Irish Examiner – the 2015 Hurler of the Year reckons that Derek McGrath will be looking to target the Tribesmen’s defence – but they won’t be playing into the hands of Daithi Burke or Gearoid McInerney.
“Waterford will try to play a sharp running game, to drag the defenders out, bring them into open play, all the things that Waterford do so well.”
Reid is all too familiar with this tactic – as it allowed Jamie Barron and Kevin Moran to flourish in Waterford’s qualifier meeting with his native Kilkenny – which saw the Deise defeat them in the championship for the first time since 1959 and knock the Cats out in that stage of the season for the first time under Brian Cody.
Whilst adamant that McGrath will stick to his controversial sweeper tactics – the three time All Star also acknowledged that there will have to be a plan B – should the Deise be chasing the game in the latter stages.
“If they’re winning the game by three or four it will help them to lock the whole thing down and to see it out. But if they’re losing by three or four, and the game is getting on, then the plan B will have to kick in.”
An issue which has also become a topic of debate ahead of Sunday’s clash is the influence of Austin Gleeson and Joe Canning on the result. There is no denying that both players are incredibly important to their respective counties – and the Ballyhale Shamrocks man expects to see both players being man-marked closely in what is sure to be a cagey affair.
“I would imagine that Waterford will put Philip Mahony on Canning and he’ll stick to him closely. I’m not sure what Galway will do with Gleeson but it’ll be a similar man-marking job.”
As touched upon by Reid – it is unlikely that either team will be scoring in the region of 2-28 or 2-30, and with both counties displaying an ability to kill off games in the latter stages in this years championship – this game could very well be one of the tightest encounters of the season so far.
Whatever way it goes – we’re sure it promises to be a game that will be talked about for years to come.
Jordan Norris, Pundit Arena.